Seven of the nine suspects accused of stabbing a 24-year-old Dalit youth during a marriage procession on Thursday night were arrested on 16 different charges by the Nanded police on Friday.
The groom is among those held, while two suspects are on the run.
The deceased was identified as Akshay Sharavan Bhalerao. An FIR was lodged in the early hours of Friday. The complaint was filed by Bhalerao’s elder brother, Akash, who suffered minor cut injuries during the clash.
Akash said the youth was stabbed to death allegedly because he played a leading role in organising Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti. Pawar, who was speaking to reporters in Pune, said, “If the accusations are factual, punish the culprits severely.” On April 30, a rally was taken out in Bhondar to mark Babasaheb’s birth anniversary that falls on April 14. The village is in the vicinity of Nanded. The situation in the village has remained tense since the incident.
Nanded rural police station’s inspector Ashok Ghorband and his team, assisted by the local crime branch, arrested the accused who were identified as Santosh Sanjay Tidke, Narayan Vishwanath Tidke (the groom), Narayan’s brother Datta, Krishna Govind Tidke, Krishna’s brother Mahadhu, Nilknath Ramesh Tidke and Shivaji Digambar Tidke. They were produced before a special court on Saturday and remanded to seven days of police custody.
The police said 16 different sections — including murder, attempt to murder, rioting and unlawful assembly of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, Indian Arms Act have been initiated. Nanded superintendent of police Shrikrishna Kokate confirmed the incident. He said, “A marriage procession of the Maratha community was passing from the village.
The preliminary probe suggests that Bhalerao had gone to a nearby grocery store. A scuffle broke out between him and people from the procession. Bhalerao was seriously injured and declared dead on arrival at a local hospital.” The officer said that prima facie, it appears the incident was spontaneous. “The village is beset with caste-based violence, but has seen no complaints over the last seven months.”
Inspector Ashok Ghorband said the clash was going on when the police reached the spot. They had to use mild force to bring the situation under control. “People are requested to come forward and report in case they have any evidence.” Akash, along with local Dalit organisations, has alleged that the murder is the outcome of a grudge over celebration of Ambedkar Jayanti in their village. The rally on April 14 was the first of its sort in Bhondar, said local residents and police.