A storm has erupted in Maharashtra as a video allegedly of a police officer in Maharashtra’s Beed district talking about how she files false cases against Dalits and Muslims has gone viral.
“I tie the hands and legs of Dalits and take out my anger about [the Atrocities Act] on them,” a person, who appears to be Bhagyashree Navtake, Deputy Superintendent of Police in Majalgaon taluka, is heard telling the accused in a Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act case.
The person in the video is heard saying that she has filed false cases against 21 Dalits who had gone to make complaints under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act at her police stations. At the beginning of the video, the person also says that she has filed cases under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code, or attempt to murder, against Muslims, so that they do not get bail easily.
The clip has been aired on several television channels.
Scroll.in attempted to contact Navtake for comment, but her mobile phone was switched off. The Superintendent of Police at Beed was also unavailable for comment.
The person is speaking to a group of Marathas who seem to have come to her for advice after being arrested in a case under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. She told them that if she released them now, there would be a violent reaction.
Instead, she told them how she dealt with a similar case under the Act when she was posted in Pimpri near Pune city. The person said that she did not arrest the accused Marathas in that case for three days, but instead told them how to file a false case against the Dalits in question. She advised the accused to file a case under Section 122 of the Indian Penal Code, which is an offence to bear arms without a licence.
A key demand in the Maratha rallies for reservations across Maharashtra in the last two years has been to dilute the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which the community believes unfairly targets them, citing low conviction rates. However, critics have said that conviction rates are low precisely because the state apparatus is biased against Dalits.
The airing of the clip has sparked a debate in some circles about caste allegedly managing to prevail despite the atrocities act.