Bhigwan’s disabled youth awaits help

Prateek Goyal
Wednesday, 17 January 2018

He opposed those who molested his friend’s wife; was disabled after they attacked him in 2014 

Pune: “I have been beaten by 17 to 18 boys. They urinated on my face when I was unconscious. They assaulted me so badly that I have become 90 per cent disabled and wheelchair-bound for my whole life. My only fault was I complained against my assaulters who eve teased my friend’s wife,” says 27-year-old Sagar Jadhav. 

He is a resident of Bhigwan village in Indapur taluka of Pune and is waiting for the rehabilitation promised to him by the eminent personalities from bureaucracy and politicians. 
The wheelchair-bound Jadhav has not been given anything for raising his voice against injustice and is living a life in penury with the hope that someday the top bosses in government will help him.

The fateful day
Jadhav, recollecting the incident, said, “It was the evening of February 27, 2014, when two local youths of village tore the clothes of my friend’s wife and molested her. My friend told me about the ghastly incident. I told him not to bear the injustice and went with him next day to file a complaint at Bhigwan police station.” 

“However, the same day my friend received a call from a local goon Aaba Devkate who asked him to take back the complaint and meet him. He assured him that he will warn the two youths to mend their ways or he will punish them,” he added.

Jadhav said, “But, when my friend went to meet them he was beaten up by Devkate. Later they called me and around 17 to 18 people assaulted me. But when the crowd gathered to intervene Devkare and his boys tried to escape. However, I tried to hold Devkare despite being in a semi-conscious state but he bludgeoned me with an iron rod and ran away.”

Cost of treatment
After the attack, Jadhav was in a coma for five months. His family had to sell their agricultural land, one-fourth portion of their house and their tractor to gather money for treatment.

His 55-year-old mother, Shobha said, “Around Rs 40 lakh was spent on his treatment. People from our village collected money and donated a big amount. Around Rs 2.5 lakh was also given by social welfare department. We lost everything and the irony is that his attackers were released on bail a month-and-half later.”

Struggling family
“It has become difficult for us to meet ends. I was 23, married just a month before this incident. My wife left me when I was in a coma. My younger brother is the sole bread earner of family and works as a woodcutter. Sometimes I think did I make a mistake by raising my voice against injustice?” Jadhav said.

Administration’s  response
Pune District Collector Saurabh Rao refused to comment on the issue. When contacted, Om Bedekar, Director of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), Maharashtra said, “We have already sent a letter to state commissioner for persons with disability ten days back and asked them to assist the victim on a priority basis.”

Nitin Patil, Commissioner, Disabilities, Maharashtra, said, “The task to rehabilitate someone is the job of charity department, but still I will look into the matter. There are possibilities that the victim will not get immediate attention as there are one crore disabled people in Maharashtra but irrespective of that I will see what I can do for him.”

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