Pune: The Athawale family, which had moved into the district collector’s office premises as a protest for receiving neither the compensation nor the required rehabilitation from the administration after their home and workshop was burnt during the Koregaon-Bhima attacks by the villagers of Sanaswadi. The administration though is acting helpless.
Ashok Athawale and his family had a burgeoning business and a rented house in Sanaswadi near Koregaon-Bhima. They used to make food and water arrangements for visitors that thronged the Koregaon-Bhima memorial on January 1 each year. This year, when they defied the opposition of the villagers in making such arrangements, the villagers allegedly set fire to their house and workshop and even beat up Athawale.
The SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act requires a family facing such persecution to receive a monetary help of Rs 1 lakh and a rehabilitation at the earliest. The Athawale family has received 25 per cent of the amount of the compensation and is yet to receive any accommodation.
The district administration says that it has given the responsibility of the rehabilitation to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
“We have asked the PMC to handle the rehabilitation and the PMC is waiting for the General Body meeting for the decision to be ratified. The GB will be held by 10 or 12 June and the issue will be resolved,” said Naval Kishore Ram, District Collector, adding, “The family has received 25 per cent of compensation amount and the rest will be dispensed after a charge sheet is filed. This will take a few days and we cannot do anything.”
The Athawale family, on the other hand, has been demanding that the police be investigated for their reluctance and negligence in duty and the delay in filing the charge sheet. The family has been braving rain and wind for the last seven days and has received support from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Bhim Chava Sanghatna, BhaRiPa Bahujan Mahasangh and Bauddha Sangharsh Samiti.