The police on Monday arrested two people and booked seven others for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, whose house was set ablaze during the violence in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January, Hindustan Times reported.
The body of Pooja Sakat was found in a well on Sunday afternoon, causing tension in the area. Her family reported a complaint on April 21 after she went missing. “Based on the postmortem report, it prima facie looks like a case of suicide,” Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural) Suvez Haque told The Indian Express. “No suicide note has yet been found.”
Haque said that the police was looking into the claim that Sakat might have ended her life as her family had not yet been rehabilitated after the violence in Bhima Koregaon earlier this year. Their house was burnt down in front of her and her brother Jaideep Sakat. Asked if she was being threatened to withdraw her statement in the case, Haque said: “The family has not made any such allegation.”
The Sakats, however, alleged that they had received death threats from the accused in the past, Hindustan Times reported. They claimed that they had filed a complaint at the Shikrapur police station after being threatened on February 11. On April 6, Jaideep Sakat reportedly addressed the media in Pune, and accused the state government of not taking action against those threatening his family.
Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar dismissed the police’s claim that Pooja Sakat had committed suicide, alleging that she had been murdered, The New Indian Express reported. He claimed that initially the police were reluctant to register a First Information Report in connection with the threats that the family had received. “This is very unfortunate that the police did not even initiate inquiry into her complaint,” he told reporters in Nagpur. He dismissed the police’s claim that Pooja Sakat had committed suicide.