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A year and a half after the brutal murder of Narendra Dabholkar on 20th August 2013, another Communist leader and Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti activist Govind Pansare and his wife Uma been shot in a similar manner in Kolhapur today.

[tweetthis twitter_handles="@Vidyut, @_AamJanata"]Attacks on progressive thinkers are on the rise and this is not acceptable[/tweetthis]

Govind Pansare faced considerable anger from Hindutva extremist groups as the main organizer of the talk "Who killed Karkare?" based on the book by former Inspector General of Police, Shamshuddin Mushrif and was an active leader of the Communist Party of India from Kolhapur.

Who killed Karkare?
Who killed Karkare?

Govind Pansare is said to be gravely injured on his neck. He is admitted in Kolhapur's Austere Adhaar Hospital with severe blood loss and is being operated upon. Close aide Nivas Salokhe has told Indian Express reporter that he is undergoing surgery. His wife Uma is said to be stable.

News still coming in. Post will be updated.

[tweetthis]Remembering the initial news of the attack on Govind Pansare. He died of injuries.[/tweetthis]

Anti-superstition activists are increasingly under attack from right wing extremists in Maharashtra.

Protesters in Pune after attack on Govind Pansare

Protests in Pune after attack on Govind Pansare
Protests in Pune after attack on Govind Pansare. Photo: Sameer Khan

Much of the news compiled here, unless otherwise mentioned, is from @AlkaDhupkar on Twitter.

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Bare facts of the matter as reported by ANS activist Krishna Chandgude

जातपंचायतचे कौर्य : महिलेच्या योनी मार्गात मिरची ची पुड कोंबली..अंनिसमुळे गुन्हा कागदावर.

बारामती जवळील झारगडवाडी येथील हनुमंत शिंदे यांच्या मुलाचे लग्न पंचांना पसंद नसणार्‍या (स्वजातीय ) मुलीशी केले. त्यामुळे वैदू जातपंचायत ने त्यांच्या परीवारास जात बहिष्कृत केले . पुढे त्यांच्या मुलीच्या साखरपुड्यातील वर्‍हाडींना पंचांनी पिटाळून लावले.दि.19 डिसेंबर रोजी ग्रामपंचायत च्या आवारात जातपंचायत बसली.सरपंच ही हजर होते(लोकशाहीची थट्टा ! ).पुन्हा जातीत घेण्यासाठी पंचांनी पाच लाख रुपयांची मागणी केली. पिडीत परीवारास गरीब असल्याने अर्थातच त्यांनी त्याला नकार दिला. पंच चिडले.भांडण झाले. पिडीत परीवार घरी गेल्यावर पंचांनी काठ्या, कुर्‍हाड, तलवारीने हल्ला केला. परीवारील एका महिलेला अर्धनग्न करून मारहाण केली तर दुसर्‍या महिलेच्या योनी मार्गात मिरचीची पुड कोंबली. आवाज ऐकून काही गावकरी मदतीला धावून आले. मात्र आमच्या जातीचे भांडण आम्हीच मिटविणार,इतरांना तो अधिकार नाही, असे सांगून त्यांनीही मारहाण केली. शेवटी आठ गंभीर जखमींना बारामतीच्या रुग्णालयात दाखल करण्यात आले. काल अंधश्रद्धा निर्मूलन समिती च्या कार्यकर्त्यांनी पिडीत कुटुंबियांची भेट घेतली. पोलिसांनी गावकर्याची तक्रार दाखल केली मात्र पिडीतांची जबानी घेतली नसल्याचे समजले. आठ दिवस होऊनही जबाब नोंदवून घेतले नसल्याने पोलीस निरीक्षक चंद्रकांत कांबळे यांच्याशी चर्चा केली.या प्रकरणी राजकीय दबाव जाणवत होता. कारण राष्ट्रवादी काॅग्रेसचे सरपंच असुन इतर जखमी गावकरी राष्ट्रवादी काॅग्रेसचे दुसर्‍या गटाचे आहेत. पोलिसांनी पिडीतांचा पुरवणी एफआयआर व खंडणीचे 385 कलम लावण्याचे कबूल केले. लगेचच कारवाई सुरू केली. परिसरातील अन्य जातपंचायत बंद करण्यासाठी पंचांनी सुसंवाद साधण्याच्या प्रबोधन मोहिमेला त्यांनी होकार दिला.लढू या...बारामती चे 'वार' बघितले.. पवारांच्या भागातील सामाजिक न्यायाचे धिंडवडे पण पाहिले.

अधिक माहितीसाठी संपर्क कृष्णा चांदगुडे 9822630378

In Zhargadwadi near Baramati, Hanumant Shinde decided to marry his son with a girl not approved of by the local caste panchayat. As a result, the caste panchayat (an unconstitutional, social body formed along the lines of caste hierarchy) boycotted them from the caste. Further when his daughter got engaged, the caste panchayat members also chased away the groom's family members.

On the 19th of December, the caste panchayat met in the premises of the gram panchayat (the constitutional, elected representatives of the village), in the sarpanch's (chief representative) presence in a complete mockery of democracy and rule of law. There, they demanded a payment of rupees five lakh in order to reinstate Shinde's family into the caste community. The family in question being poor, naturally declined to pay the amount. The panchs (representatives) got angry and an argument ensued. When the family returned home, the panchs attacked them with sticks, axes and swords.

The panchs stripped a woman from the family naked and beat her up. They stuffed chilli powder in the vagina of another woman from the family.

On hearing the commotion, some villagers came running to assist. Declaring that this was a caste matter and that it would be dealt within the caste and others had no right to interfere, the panchs also attacked the villagers who had come to help.

In the end, eight grievously injured villagers were admitted to the hospital in Baramati.

Members of the Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti met the villagers to understand the case. The police have recorded a complaint but not the statements of those injured. Since it had been eight days since the incident without statements of the victims being recorded, the ANS workers met Police Inspector Chandrakant Kamble. They realized that there was political pressure being exerted to suppress the case. The sarpanch in question belonged to the Nationalist Congress party while the injured villagers were not.

Baramati is the stronghold of the Nationalist Congress Party and Supriya Sule, the daughter of the Chairman of the Party, Sharad Pawar is the elected Member of Parliament from the constituency.

The police took the statements of the injured and promised to apply section 385 to the case and started proceedings accordingly. Panchs committed to strike dialogue to shut down caste panchayats in the region.

Observations and questions

The section applied by the police is 385 which states:

385. Putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extor­tion.—Whoever, in order to the committing of extortion, puts any person in fear, or attempts to put any person in fear, of any injury, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

This essentially amounts to the legal case being reduced to scaring the injured party and extorting money from them. However, there are several other things that are illegal that happened - caste discrimination and crime, assault, outraging the modesty of a woman and RAPE. The police appear to not notice this. In effect, the criminals roam free still.

Proper sections of the IPC need to be applied against the accused in the case and the police officials in question must be investigated as accomplices to the crime who are essentially contributing their effort to let the criminals flee after the crime. The elected representatives who misused their authority to enact a crime must be removed from office and arrested. Failure to do this should result in investigation of pressure leading to inexplicable refusal to uphold the law of the land.

I will post updates as more information becomes available or developments happen. In the meanwhile, you can demand accountability from the government of Maharashtra and the leadership of the Nationalist Congress Party. The more attention the case gets, the less likely it will be to be brushed under the carpet and the safer those fighting for justice will be.