If no action is taken against university officials, I will set myself on fire

Student who filed SC/ST PoA case against SPPU officials says police are avoiding action against them.

Credit : Akash Bhosale facebook

Snehal Warekar

Pune: “My life is under threat. If no action is taken, I will set myself on fire. I expect action against the accused immediately, the lethargic response by the police is condemnable,” says Akash Bhosale, the student who registered a complaint against four varsity officials under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act including vice-chancellor Dr. Nitin Karmalkar, on July 6 this year.

The Savitribai Phule Pune University has been in the news for several issues at the campus. Students here at SPPU stay at the hostel of the university and as they usually hail from social margins, share expenses like meal coupons of the Refectory mess in a bid to share costs. In the last week of March this year however, the Refectory mess issued new rules which scrapped the coupon system and prohibited the sharing of meals. 

The new rules also prohibited non-mess members to have their food within the Refectory like before. In reaction to these new rules, a students’ agitation began before the refectory on April 1. Students had gathered at the Refectory to demand the rules to get canceled.

In response, a case was registered under sections 353, 332, 143, 147, 149 and 427 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against 12 students by the University, at the Chaturshrungi Police station. 

Bhosale, an M.Phil student of the Marathi department of the varsity, as well as a freelance journalist, claimed that he had gone to cover it as a reporter and was falsely implicated in the case. He apparently, published reports of the alleged wrong-doings in the University campus and therefore, the officials filed a complaint against him to destroy his educational career and because he belongs to a Scheduled Caste.

Bhosale fought back by registering a case against the University official, including the vice-chancellor of the university. According to the police, the case was registered against vice-chancellor Dr. Nitin Karmalkar, SPPU, registrar Prafful Pawar, senate member Sanjay Chakane, security in-charge Suresh Bhosale, and security personnel Bhursingh Rajput. 

The case was registered under Sections 3(1)(p) and 3(1)(q) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, along with Sections 177 (furnishing false information), 183 (resistance to the taking of property by the lawful authority of a public servant) and 120(b) (punishment for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Though the complaint was registered, the Pune police, Bhosale says, has taken no action against the officials. The Pune sessions court last month had directed the police to investigate Akash's complaint after the latter filed a petition in the court. Akash alleges that he has been falsely implicated in a case filed by the Pune university officials as he belongs to the backward class

“The honourable court has directed to file the case under Atrocity act but even after the ten days, I haven’t received even a call from the police station. One system has fulfilled its responsibility but another (police) is yet to do its job." 

Satish Gore, one of the twelve students against the varsity has filed complaint said, "The university administration, by registering cases against the students, have shown the sheer oppressive nature and have made the students suffer educationally, economically and most dangerous of all mentally,” adding, “This would sadly be the worst and indelible page in the history of the SPPU. As the VC and others have had to be booked under the Atrocity Act, one can clearly smell the fearful atmosphere presided over the campus.”

When Indie Journal tried to communicate with Prafull Pawar, Registrar, SPPU Pune, he denied commenting on the issue saying that the case is going under judicial proceedings. Satishkumar Padolkar, a research student of the varsity stated that “No media, no political party, nobody will take an interest in the matter till Akash Bhosale becomes Rohit Vemula.” Akash Bhosale stays in the University Campus, he expresses his fear that why action is not initiated by the Police while many student organizations and individual students have extended support to him.


Snehal Warekar is an intern with Indie Journal.