Maharashtra: Despite Hate Speeches, Role in Violence, BJP’s Vikram Pawaskar Goes Scot-Free (The Wire)

Electronic evidence, independent witnesses, and at least four FIRs point to the direct involvement of the BJP Maharashtra vice-president in public incitement of communal tension in the western Maharashtra region.

Hate Watch

By Sukanya Shantha

Mumbai: Between January and September 2023, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vikram Pawaskar was actively involved in delivering several hate speeches and flaring up communal tensions in the twin districts of Satara and Sangli in western Maharashtra. Electronic evidence, independent witnesses, and at least four FIRs point to his direct involvement in both public incitement of communal tension in the region and his conspiratorial role in the violent attack on a mosque in Satara district that claimed one life and serious injury to over a dozen. But for an entire year, the police have failed to initiate any kind of action against him.

Since the Maharashtra police have failed in their duty, Shakir Islal Tamboli, a 50-year-old rights- activist moved a writ petition before the Bombay high court last month. The elaborate petition, filed through his lawyer Lara Jesani, and represented by senior advocate Mihir Desai, chronicles events where Pawaskar had incited Hindu youth in the region.

On Friday, February 9, when the case came up for hearing, the public prosecutor Hiten Vengaonkar submitted an affidavit before the court on behalf of the Satara police and once again issued a clean chit to Pawaskar. The affidavit was in response to the observations made by a division bench of justices Manjusha Deshpande and Revati Mohite Dere in the last hearing on January 24. The judges, taking note of the seriousness of the charges levelled against the police and Pawaskar, had asked the police to tell the court why no action was initiated against Pawaskar.

Interestingly, on Friday, as the case came up for hearing, advocate Abhinav Chandrachud appeared before the court and said he wanted to “intervene” on behalf of Pawaskar. Since Abhinav Chandrachud had not filed an intervention application, the court didn’t grant him permission.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.


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