Activist claims attack on her life

The Asian Age.  | Amey tirodkar and Saurabh m. Joshi

Metros, Mumbai

Sushma Andhare’s car was hit by a Maruti van in Indore on Wednesday.

Sushma Andhare

Mumbai: Dalit activist Sushma Andhare has claimed that her car came under “attack” in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on Wednesday, when three cars without number plates tailed her before a white Maruti van bumped into her car.

Informing her followers on Facebook about the attack, Ms Andhare wrote, “Three cars without number plates were following me since I left Indore. At about 12.10 am on May 2, one of the cars — a white Maruti van, rammed into our car from the back. This took place for nearly three-and-a-half minutes near the bridge of Mrudung restaurant of Indore bypass, Mumbai-Agra highway.

“As it was dark outside, I could not see the faces of the people sitting inside the car. But, I could see a hand on the steering wheel with many colorful threads knotted.”

Ms Andhare further posted, “Senior police inspector of Nashik road police station, Pandharinath Dhokane, wasn’t ready to register a FIR in the case. Rather, he threatened us with a return FIR. It took three hours for him to finally agree to register our complaint.”

Meanwhile, the police said that in Ms Andhare’s statement, she claimed that they were travelling in their car to Nashik, accompanied by Mr Gutte and Mr Lokhande. When they took the service road and were passing by Mrudung restaurant, their car slowed down due to a speedbreaker.

SPI Dhokane said, “Ms Andhare claimed that when the car slowed down, a car ‘without number plate’ rammed into their car.”

“Ms Andhare claimed that she was seated behind and was hurt. The car hit their vehicle again. This is when she feared that it was an attack on her life and Mr Gutte and Mr Lokhande alighted to check who the assailant was. But the car again hit their vehicle and the incident unfolded in three minutes,” the officer added.

“After we told her that the case would be registered, she sought to talk to me and suddenly fell at my feet, pleading with me to register her complaint. One of her supporters was shooting a video clip of the incident. She also started abusing the policemen, calling them inefficient and passed comments on the Bhima-Koregaon violence. This was also shot in the clip and later circulated to raise a storm,” said SPI Dhokane.

Ms Andhare’s colleagues said that she suffered serious backbone injuries but is stable now.

A senior republican activist from Maharashtra, Ms Andhare recently came into the limelight after she lodged a FIR against Sambhaji Bhide, right-wing leader from western Maharashtra, for instigating the violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1 this year.

In her complaint, Ms Andhare claimed that she saw Mr Bhide personally instigating mobs against Ambedkarites gathered at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1.

The communal incident which created ripples across Maharashtra occurred at a time when thousands of dalits gathered to Pune to pay tribute to slain warriors on the 2nd centenary of a battle between Peshwas and a regiment of the East India Company comprising dalits.

Meanwhile, many Republican Party of India (RPI) leaders have demanded the probe into the matter.

J.V. Pawar, a colleague of senior RPI leader Prakash Ambedkar said, “The State government must probe the complaint. This is serious issue. The lives of Ambedkarites activists have been under threat since the last few months.”