Victim’s family appeals to people to maintain peace

Prateek Goyal
Wednesday, 3 January 2018

It raises questions over police preparedness, says compensation will not bring him back; Rahul Phatangade was hit by stones while on a two-wheeler. 

Baba Phatangade said that he came to know about the death of his son on Monday at around 7.30 pm. Thirty-year-old Rahul Phatangade is survived by parents and four siblings. He used to run a garage at Sanaswadi. ​

Pune: Sitting inside his two-room house in Gholapwadi hamlet of Kanhur Mesai village, around 10 km from Shikrapur, 60-year-old Babaji Phatangade, father of Rahul Phatangade, who died in the riot at Sanaswadi during the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Koregaon-Bhima battle on Monday, said, “I saw my son on December 25, when he visited us here from Sanaswadi. I didn’t know that I was seeing him for the last time. Caste-based riots should not happen in our society. Some selfish people are politicising caste issues. They are instigating violence in the name of caste. My son has become a victim of hatred spread by a few for their personal gains. He will never come back and no amount of money can compensate our loss.” 

Phatangade, who owns four acres of land at Gholapwadi, said, “I am a simple farmer. I don’t want anything or any compensation. I just want that the killers of my son to be arrested and hanged to death. Money will not get my son back.” 
Baba Phatangade said that he came to know about the death of his son on Monday at around 7.30 pm. 

According to the police, Rahul Phatangade was hit by stones while he was going on a two-wheeler to fetch eatables from the market. He was injured by stones pelted by rioters at around 2.30 pm. He received injuries on his head and was rushed to Sassoon Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries later in the evening. 

Thirty-year-old Rahul Phatangade is survived by parents and four siblings. He used to run a garage at Sanaswadi. 
Poonam Durge, a sister of the deceased, said, “What was the police doing when my brother died? Nobody cares about the poor, whether it is the prime minister or the chief minister. Even if they give two crores, it won’t compensate for my brother’s life. We don’t want anything. We just want justice. The government should conduct a proper investigation and should punish those responsible for it, so that such riots should not happen again and innocents should not be killed.” 

Tushar Phatangade (23), Rahul Phatangade’s younger brother, who is preparing for the state services exams, said, “People came to Koregaon-Bhima to pay their respects. It was their right. Every community has the right to follow their culture and tradition. But caste-based riots should not take place, as someone suffers. It is the job of the government to ensure such riots don’t happen. The police should have taken precautions. They were aware about the tension prevailing in the area due to an incident related to the memorial of Sambhaji Maharaj in Vadhu Budruk 4-5 days ago. They were also aware that people would gather at Koregaon-Bhima in large numbers. They should have deployed adequate force.” 

“Rs 10 lakh compensation will not bring my brother back to life. The government has the habit of shedding its responsibilities. It should have made better preparations to handle crowds,” added Tushar Phatangade. 

Tejas Dhawde, cousin and close friend of Rahul, said, “My cousin died in the riot. We don’t know who killed him. I am not blaming any particular community for it. Every community is good. We all should live in harmony, irrespective of caste and creed. Those who are behind these riots are playing politics on the basis of caste. The government should investigate and arrest the killers of my brothers. These people should be arrested soon or they will divide our society and 
spread hatred.”

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