A day after arson and protests against the alleged rape of a five-year-old girl, Nashik in Maharashtra limped to normalcy on Monday, officials said.
"The situation is tense but under control. We have deployed adequate police personnel in the affected villages. The highway and city roads are normal," Superintendent of Police (Rural) Ankush Shinde said. He said several persons involved in Sunday's violence and damage to public properties had been arrested. Deputy Commissioner of Police Laxmikant Patil said any attempt by mischief mongers to violate the law "would be dealt with a heavy hand". Police Commissioner RK Singhal said suitable action had been taken against alleged rapist and urged people not to believe rumours circulating on social media networks. In Amravati, Union Minister for Social Justice Ramdas Athavale, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and NCP President Sharad Pawar made separate appeals to the people to maintain peace.
In Amravati, Union Minister for Social Justice Ramdas Athavale, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and NCP President Sharad Pawar made separate appeals to the people to maintain peace.
Nashik was on the edge after a teenage boy allegedly tried to rape a five-year-old girl near Trimbakeshwar, sparking large-scale protests and tension in the district. The incident occurred in the Trimbakeshwar pilgrim town in the district where a case was registered late on Sunday night by the victim's mother. On Saturday when the victim's parents, both farm labourers, had gone to work in the fields, the accused teenager, aged 15 or 16, allegedly attempted to lure the two sisters, a seven-year-old and a five-year-old girl, who were playing near a temple in the Talegaon-Anjaneri village. While the older girl refused to go, the younger one went with him after he gave her money to buy a soft drink. Later, the boy took the younger girl to some dilapidated structure behind the temple and allegedly raped her.
As soon as the news spread, tension gripped Talegoan as locals gathered at the police station Sunday night demanding that the boy be booked and arrested. The villagers staged ‘rasta roko’ in Wadovhare, Ghoti and Anjaneri-phata areas. Some people set tyres on fire, and also damaged a tractor in Talegaon. A group of people also protested at Nashik Civil Hospital last night and demanded that the victim be examined by a woman doctor. Enraged locals gathered at several places Sunday morning also and damaged three police vehicles, including the car of Special IG, Nashik Range, Vinaykumar
Enraged locals gathered at several places Sunday morning also and damaged three police vehicles, including the car of Special IG, Nashik Range, Vinaykumar Choube. Thousands of people blocked the Mumbai-Agra highway, attacked the police and targeted public and private vehicles to protest against the rape. Twenty policemen were injured and several vehicles, including nine state transport buses and four police vans, were torched. Police fired several rounds in the air to disperse the mobs. The Mumbai-Agra, Nashik-Igatpuri and Nashik-Aurangabad highways remained choked for nearly eight hours.
The immediate provocation for the violence is reported to be a statement by Nashik Guardian Minister Girish Mahajan who said it was not a rape, but attempted rape. Maharashtra water resources minister Girish Mahajan, who is also the guardian minister of Nashik, visited the girl’s family and termed the incident as “unfortunate”. He said a rape attempt was made on her by the boy and said the case would be fast-tracked.
According to a report by The Indian Express, there have been multiple silent protests across Maharashtra three months back after the Kopardi village gangrape and murder of a 14-year-old, against the misuse of the Dalit Attrocities Act. The police have charged the accused with rape based on the five-year-old's statement. The have sent her urine, blood samples and vaginal swaps for tests. It has been reported that there are no serious injuries on the victim's body. “However, since the victim is a minor, inappropriate touching also amounts to rape under the amended provision of IPC and the new Act,” according to a senior police official.
Police lobbed teargas shells and also fire some rounds in the air at Talegaon to disperse the mob, a rural control room official said. Mahajan assured that charges will be framed in the case within a fortnight and it will be heard in a fast-track court. Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam will be appointed as prosecutor in the case, he said. “We will ensure that the accused gets a strict punishment and that this case is tried in a fast track court,”said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. He also asked people not believe the rumours circulating post the incident, saying “I appeal to the people not believe in these rumours, stay calm, abide by rules and regulations and help us maintain law and order.” Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam will be appointed as prosecutor in the case, he said. No senior doctor or civil surgeon of Nashik Civil Hospital were available for comment.
According to ANI, lawyer and social activist Abha Singh claimed that crimes by 16-18-year-olds has gone up by 400 percent and the government is right in having reduced the juvenile justice age to 16 so the accused will now be tried as an adult. A case of IPC 376 shoud be registered. Another activist, Brinda Adiga, said that the police has probably taken the accused into custody for his protection and not as a culprit.
As per Quint, the local media played down the news related to the events in Nashik, directed by the district administration. However, social media errupted on the issue with hearsay and tidbits of news. And according to the DNA, the city police suspended all internet services and bus services since Monday morning. Heavy security has been arranged for at places of large-scale protests, and schools remain closed.
With inputs from agencies