Eighty-six days after the shocking rape and murder of a minor girl in Kopardi, in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, the police on Friday filed the chargesheet in the controversial case.
The rape and brutal murder of a minor girl from the politically powerful Maratha community on July 13 had sent shockwaves across Maharashtra. The accused in the case—Jitendra Shinde, Santosh Bhaval and Nitin Bhailume—are dalits. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had assured the parents of the girl that a chargesheet would be filed within a month.
After the police failed to file the chargheet within a month, there had been tremendous anger in Maratha community. NCP MP Supriya Sule had asked a pointed question to Fadnavis a few days ago as to why the police had not filed the chargesheet in the case.
Maharashtra has been witnessing huge silent rallies by Maratha community members. The rallies have been taking place in almost every district. One of the main demands of these rallies have been 'capital punishment to Kopardi rape accused'.
Had the police failed to file the chargesheet within 90 days, the accused would have been eligible to apply for bail.
Apart from naming the accused, the chargsheet also lists the names of 70 people as witnesses.
Maharashtra government has appointed eminent lawyer Ujwal Nikam as special public prosecutor in the case.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis's efforts to woo Maratha community gained momentum as the BJP state executive meet passed a resolution, demanding 16 per cent reservation for the community. The proposal was moved by senior Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil and was passed unanimously.
Fadnavis has also asked his senior cabinet colleague Chandrakant Patil to personally meet women leaders of a Maratha rally that is scheduled to be held in Kolhapur district on October 15. The organisers, however, are undecided about meeting Patil, as so far the young leaders of the rallies had chosen to meet district collectors instead of political leaders.
In fact, leaders like Ajit Pawar, BJP MP Anil Shirole and Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil were forced to participate in these rallies as mere commoners from Maratha community.