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Stripping of Dalit women: Chargesheet filed against upper caste neighbours

Over two years after two women were allegedly thrashed and almost stripped by their upper caste neighbours, the Wadala TT police have filed two separate cases under the Prevention of Atrocity Act.In 2008, Urmilla Lunwara, a municipal school teacher, and Mamta Makhwana were allegedly assaulted and almost stripped for questioning the periodic demands by a few upper caste neighbours of a “building maintenance” for their MHADA Colony houses in Wadala.

Last week, Wadala TT police filed two separate chargesheets, naming the same persons as accused. The two women had demanded separate cases to be be filed.

According to the police, Makhwana had directly challenged the accused and Lunwara had come in their line of fire for taking the side of Makhwana in the fight.

In July, 2008, one of the accused, Ram Das allegedly demanded the maintenance money from Makhwana. “Like always, he demanded the money. My family was fed up with the constant demand and I decided to not pay and questioned on what grounds was he making the demand from the residents. He assaulted me. His family joined him in the act,” Makhwana’s statement to the police reads.

Das and his wife Anju, besides Ram Kolarkar, Shalan Kolarkar, Sonal Kolarkar, Rajendra Pai and Rahul Pai, allegedly attacked Makhwana.

According to Makhwana’s statement and police investigation, the accused had on several instances passed casteist comments at Makhwana’s family, which belongs to the denotified Meghwal community.

Lunwara also alleged that the accused had on several instances made casteist comments at her and her family. “It’s primarily an upper caste colony. Few Dalit families live here. They have been pressuring us to sell our houses to them. When we ignored their demand, they attacked us. It was not a sudden outburst but a well planned attack to intimidate us,” says Lunwara.

Lunwara alleged, “The police refused to file our complaint for several months. Finally, we approached the Additional Commissioner of Police, and the complaints were registered.”

Sadanand Date, the then Additional Commissioner of Police, directed the police to register the complaint.

Police have booked all the accused under several sections of the Atrocities Act along with the sections of the Indian Penal Code for assault, outraging the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation.

BY SUKANYA SHETTY

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COURTESY:INDIAN EXPRESS , DEC 27/10

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