Dalit girl, a key witness of Bhima Koregaon violence found dead

PUNE: 19-year-old woman, who belonged to a Dalit community and a key witness to the Bhima Koregaon clashes in Maharashtra, was found dead.

According to a Times of India report, the dead body of Pooja Sakat was found floating in a well at around 11 am on Sunday near a rehabilitation site for the violence victims.

Pooja, a Std XI student had witnessed her house-cum-hotel being torched by the mob during the Bhima Koregaon violence.

The family alleged that some villagers have been terrorising them for the past three months and she was under a lot of pressure as they are threatening and pressurising her to withdraw her statement against the culprits.

Pooja’s brother, Jaideep, told TOI, “We informed the Shikrapur police after Pooja went missing on Saturday afternoon. The well where her body was found is about 2km from Koregaon Bhima. We suspect that she may have been compelled by local villagers to end her life or she may have been pushed into the well.”

The police have registered a case of abetment of suicide under IPC section 306 and offences under the SCs And STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act

On January 1, the violence at Bhima-Koregaon left one dead and several injured, including 10 policemen. Violence erupted after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars heading towards Bhima Koregaon for the commemoration on January 1.

The police had filed 58 cases against 162 people during a state-wide shutdown in January following clashes in Bhima-Koregaon.

Dalit leaders and workers at the village had alleged that Hindutva activists Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide instigated the violence.

Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, the prime accused and was facing charges of inciting violence, attempt to murder and atrocities against Dalits was granted bail on a bond of Rs. 25,000 by Pune Session court.