24, Oct 2023 | CJP Team
News has emerged from Beed, Maharashtra of an Adivasi woman being assaulted and stripped of her clothes by some men in the presence and reportedly with the instructions of the wife of a BJP MLC Suresh Dhas, and her associate Rahul Jagdale and Raghav Pawar, according to reports.
According to The Wire, the incident occurred on October 15, however, the complaint was filed on October 22. So far no arrests have been made, while a complaint has been filed under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 354, 354B, 323, 504, 506, 354A, 34, as well as invoking the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The Adivasi woman has asserted in her complaint to the police that the associates of the wife of the local BJP MLC, Prajakta Dhas, made a violent attempt to seize her family’s ancestral land, with a group of associates at her side. The incident unfolded on the evening of October 15, when the Adivasi woman, accompanied by her family members, were going to their field with bullock carts to gather essential cattle fodder. Her husband and daughter in law, too, were present during this fateful episode.
Prajakta Dhas and her associates entered and started to insist that the Adivasi woman and family vacate the land. The complainant then informed them that their family has owned the land for the past six decades. Following this conversation, Jagdali and Pawar reportedly attacked the woman and forcibly removed her clothing, as detailed in the complainant’s statement. A video of the harrowing incident has gone viral on social media.
The local police force has taken charge of the investigation. According to reports, in her complaint, the victim has stated she was stripped and molested by men while the BJP MLC’s wife stood watching and reassured the men to beat the woman ‘properly’.
An official on record has stated that, “The case is being investigated by a Deputy SP rank officer. No one has been arrested as of yet because we are still verifying the facts of the incident.”
In light of these events, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women chief Rupali Chakankar took to X to say that she has spoken to the Beed police officials and directed them to take action, “I have personally sought details of the incident from the Beed police superintendent. Police have been directed to take appropriate action. The commission will follow up till the woman gets justice.”
बीडमध्ये जमिनीच्या वादातून महिलेचा विनयभंग करत निर्वस्त्र करण्यात आल्याची घटना समोर आली आहे. घटना कळताच मी स्वतः पोलीस अधिक्षक बीड यांच्याशी दूरध्वनीवरून माहिती घेतली.अतिशय संतापजनक अशा या घटनेत रघु पवार, राहुल जगदाळे, प्राजक्ता सुरेश धस यांच्यावर गुन्हा दाखल करण्यात आला आहे.1/2
— Rupali Chakankar (@ChakankarSpeaks) October 22, 2023
Two time MP and president of the Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi, Prakash Ambedkar also took to X to condemn the incident. He also stated that a VBA delegation has visited the victim and ‘offered her support.’ Ambedkar also reveals in his post that the officials refused to file an FIR when the victim first approached the police. He also mentioned that there were about 250 Karyakartas present at the police station and demanded that BJP MLC Suresh Dhas’ name be mentioned in the FIR as well as that he be arrested.
Yet another caste-based atrocity against women in Maharashtra.
The news is so horrifying that I cannot find words in my vocabulary to express my disgust to this caste-based atrocity by the BJP MLC Suresh Dhas, his wife and their goons.
A 40-year-old woman was stripped…
— Prakash Ambedkar (@Prksh_Ambedkar) October 22, 2023
Suresh Dhas on the other hand has claimed that these are fake charges against his wife due to political pressure, stating that ‘“It was me who asked the police to file a complaint after the woman was assaulted. My wife had nothing to do with what transpired. Truth will come out soon.” According to the Indian Express, Dhas, who was previously in the National Congress Party, opted to leave the party in 2017 and subsequently joined the BJP. He has been previously associated with controversy too in relation to land grabbing. Nawab Malik had earlier accused the BJP leader of illegally taking control of land designated for religious purposes and channelling substantial amounts of money through secretive ‘benami’ transactions.
Image Courtesy: thelallantop.com