On 15 March, 2017, Professor Waghmare, KMC College, Khopoli, shares an image on WhatsApp which cracks a joke on Shivaji's two birth dates. Some teachers who are part of the group say their sentiments have been hurt. Waghmare says that he did not compose the message himself and says that it is a minor matter for which he is apologetic. Meanwhile, word spreads out of the WhatsApp group and two days later, on 17 March, a crowd assembles near the Principal's office. When Waghmare arrives at the spot, he is physically assaulted. A Youtube video of the assault is available but the Principal claims that the CCTV cameras were not working because of a power cut. The police takes him to the hospital and, instead of lodging an FIR against the mob, files a complaint against Waghmare. The college suspends him on the same day.
According to the fact finding team, Waghmare claimed that had he been issued show-cause notices several times by the Principal, and subjected to other forms of harassment, all of which prove caste discrimination. Besides, the belt of Khopoli, (where the college is located), Pen, Sudhagadh, Panvel comprise a stronghold of several political outfits. These include Hindutva rightwing groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and the Sanatan Sanstha, all of which are against dalits.
Since the FIR against Waghmare, the police have, reluctantly, lodged an FIR against the assault of Waghmare under the SC/ST Atrocity Act. Following this FIR, an all-party meeting was convened in Khopoli. It threatened to organise morchas in the entire district of Raigad if the atrocity case is not withdrawn.
Read the entire fact finding report here
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