A Dalit ‘social activist’, Vijay Annasaheb Makasare, has filed a robbery complaint against the head of the Bhumata Brigade and activist, Trupti Desai, at the Hinjewadi police station in Pune. Following the complaint, police have booked Desai, her husband Prashant Desai and four others — including Satish Desai, Kantilal alias Anna Gaware and two unidentified persons – under sections 341, 323, 394, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

However, Desai claims that the complaint is false and could be “a conspiracy” against her. Last year, she had led a protest demanding entry for women in the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district, Nashik.

Makasare claimed in his complaint that on June 27, Desai met him on pretext of some work along with her husband and a few friends. Desai allegedly snatched two cellphones from him saying the phones carried “evidence” against them. She then allegedly instructed her husband and others to beat up Makasare with an iron rod and wooden stick.

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They allegedly robbed him of valuables, including a gold chain worth Rs 15,000, Rs 27,000 in cash and two goggles. He also claimed that she made offensive caste-based comments.

“I have been in contact with Trupti Desai for the last one year. I got a letter on May 24 this year, appointing me as state vice-president of Bhumata Brigade, but it did not carry the registration number of the organisation. When I asked about it, I was told that the Bhumata Brigade is not a registered outfit. I raised objections about the way the Brigade was functioning. So, Trupti Desai made false allegations in Ahmednagar… that I am involved in cases of harassment of women and extortion…..On June 26, Trupti Desai called me and asked me to accompany her to Mantralaya in Mumbai for some personal work. I agreed because I have never had any personal differences with her,” said Makasare, a resident of Shrirampur in Ahmednagar, to Indian Express.

But Desai has a different story to tell as she says that the complaint is “false”. “No such incident has ever taken place. When I got to know that such a complaint has been lodged against me, I contacted the police… I know Makasare, he wanted a post in our organisation. I was against it as I found that he was not genuine and was misusing the name of Bhumata Brigade. It could be the reason why he has lodged a false complaint against me. The false complaint could also be a conspiracy… there should be an investigation to find out who is behind this false complaint. We would be taking legal action against Makasare,” she said.

“We are investigating the case and further action will be based on the outcome of the probe,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone III) Ganesh Shinde.

Picture credit- DNA India