Indian Express: Pune: Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
IN THE last five years, as many as 10 murders have taken place in Kharalwadi area of Pimpri-Chinchwad, where RTI activist Suhas Haldankar was brutally murdered on Sunday night. Additionally, attempt to murder cases too seem to be on the rise, with the area witnessing at least 25 in the last five years.
“As the sun sets, miscreants roam freely in the Kharalwadi-Gandhinagar area and openly consume liquor, making life miserable for women. Besides, two politicians, who collectively have at least 40 criminal cases registered against them, also reside in the area…”
Armed with such complaints, a delegation comprising activists, residents and intellectuals led by Suhas Haldankar’s sister Shweta Kargotkar has decided to meet Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla.
To end the era of those “creating terror in the area”, Shukla said, she will meet the residents and hear out their grievances. “I will take strong action against the miscreants in the area….” she added. On whether she would extern them, she said, “Certainly action would be initiated against the troublemakers.”
The police chief is likely to meet the delegation around 12 pm Wednesday.
Advocate Sushil Mancharkar, a resident of the area, said, “We have drafted a memorandum, to be presented to the police commissioner. We will bring to the commissioner’s notice the goonda raj that prevails in Kharalwadi-Gandhinagar area… At least 10 murders and several attempted murders have taken place in the area.”
Of the 11 accused arrested in Haldankar murder case, at least five-six were in jail last year on attempt to murder charges, Mancharkar added. “Had the police barred them from entering Kharalwadi, the murder of an innocent RTI activist would not have taken place,” he said.
He added that police presence and pro-active policing in the area will make residents feel safe, otherwise the “reign of terror” is unlikely to end. Swapnil Thosar, one of the residents who had rushed Haldankar to the hospital after the attack, said women fear to step out in evening as miscreants consume liquor openly on the streets of Kharalwadi. “Haldankar’s attackers were consuming liquor in the open,” he added.
Mahesh J, a local resident, said, if the police act tough, Kharalwadi would be a safe place to live in. Talking to The Indian Express on Monday, Kargotkar said safety of women in Kharalwadi area was the biggest issue her brother fought against, till his last breath.
“My brother fought against the harassment of women by miscreants and police inaction against those drinking liquor in the open… On his part, he had filed several complaints with the civic and police officials and tried to highlight the problem in local newspapers,” she added.
Participating in a silent march Tuesday, Kargotkar urged the police to take strong action against her brother’s killers. She added that her brother staked his life fighting to improve the living conditions in Kharalwadi.
An elderly resident said the way the miscreants carry out attacks in Kharalwadi-Gandhinagar area speaks poorly of the police force. “Those who are involved in murder cases, attempt to murder cases and violent attacks should be externed from Kharalwadi… A strong signal like this could act as a deterrent for troublemakers,” he said.
Meanwhile, another person, identified as Ganesh Jadhav, was arrested in Haldankar case on Tuesday. Jadhav was arrested from Chikhli area of Pimpri-Chinchwad.