Chargesheet filed in Kopardi rape, murder case that triggered Maratha unrest
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Mumbai: The police have finally filed a chargesheet in the Ahmadnagar rape and murder case that triggered the Maratha unrest all over Maharashtra. Special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam, who is fighting the case for the 14-year-old Maratha girl who was raped and murdered on 13 July, said on Friday that the Ahmadnagar police had filed the chargesheet. The chargesheet names three accused and lists 70 witnesses. The case will be tried in a fast track court in Ahmadnagar. The state government has fielded Nikam to fight the case on its behalf.
Maratha organisations and opposition parties had criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government for not filing the chargesheet even after 86 days had passed since the crime that flared up Maratha-Dalit tensions. If a chargesheet is not filed within 90 days since the arrest of suspects, the accused are entitled to apply for bail.
“The delay happened because we wanted to make an extremely strong and tight case against the culprits. The chargesheet emphasises the gory nature of the crime and makes out a strong argument to treat it as a rarest of the rare cases deserving death penalty,” said a Maharashtra minister who did not wish to be named.
Political parties and Maratha organisations have demanded death penalty to the culprits. On 14 July, the Ahmadnagar police arrested three men who belong to a Dalit community from village Kopardi where the crime was committed.
Soon after, Marathas took to the streets and demanded the death penalty for the suspects. All political parties including the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena have supported this demand.
The Marathas, who launched a series of massive silent marches all over the state beginning on 9 August, also added two other demands. One, 16% reservation for Marathas in government-aided and run educational institutions and jobs. Two, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act be amended to prevent its alleged misuse by Dalits and tribals to frame the Marathas in fake cases.