“With this video the words of Babasaheb Ambedkar seem apt. The message Babasaheb Ambedkar read on Sankalp Divas… Babasaheb Ambedkar said, ‘people do not fear me because I am an intellectual, nor because I am very educated, not even because I represent a large community. People are scared of me because I have character, I am self respecting, I cannot be bought, and my thoughts are not for sale”, Devji Maheshwari, a senior activist of the All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) quoted these lines in his last Facebook post on September 25 and linked it to a video “अंग्रेजों ने क्यों कहा था ब्राह्मणों में न्यायिक चरित्र नहीं होता ?” that translates as, ‘Why did the British say that Bhrahims do not have a judicious character?’.
This was the last message Maheshwari posted on his Facebook page at 1.24 A.M, this video https://www.facebook.com/devjibhai.maheshwari.9 referred to BAMCEF National President Waman Meshram saying that members of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) were being targeted and made to feel inferior by Brahmins.
Devji Maheshwari, resident of Rapar, a town in Kutch, Gujarat was stabbed on his way to his office that evening. He succumbed to his injuries before he could be taken to a nearby hospital. According to a report in The Hindu, as soon as word spread about the heinous killing, hundreds of community members in Rapar and other towns in the district blocked highways and burnt scrap tyres.
Meanwhile, the victim’s family, supported by local Dalit organisations and community members, refused to accept the body until all the accused had been arrested. The body has been kept at the government hospital, stated news reports. The the other accused named in the FIR are – Jaysukh Luhar, Khimji Luhar, Dhaval Luhar, Devubha Sodha, Vijaysinh Sodha, Mayursinh Sodha, Pravinsinh Sodha and Arjansinh Sodha. Some local news reports also added that the motive behind the murder could also be connected to a property case that Maheshwari was fighting.
#Adv. Devji Maheshwari was a BAMCEF Activist dedicated to the Bahujan movement. Meghwal Community in Kutch is rattled by this loss. The grief will only translate into intense protests if the murderers are not immediately arrested.#JusticeForDevjibhaiMaheshwari pic.twitter.com/RGGrMzEfMc
— Priyanshu Gungunawat (@PGungunawat) September 25, 2020
Minaxiben Maheshwari is now fighting for justice and has named the accused openly. She is protesting outside the police station. “Why are the police not listening? I have been here for two days, but the police are still inactive. The main accused have not been arrested. Why? There is political pressure. Where has the government gone to sleep? Police is listening to them, not me. They do not listen to those who speak the truth. I will not take my husband’s body till all of them are arrested,” she told mediapersons.
According to the FIR, which was registered based on a complaint by the victim’s wife, Minaxiben Maheshwari, around 7.30 A.M on Friday, Maheshwari left his Rapar residence in a private vehicle for Bhuj, for a legal matter in connection with the property case involving a Luhar community hall, and had returned home by 3.30 P.M, after which he left for his office, reported IE. Minaxiben said, “No lawyer was ready to take the case of the community hall, and my husband did, and he kept the files related to the case with him and had tried in vain several times to lodge an FIR (related to the dispute) in the police station. Because he had the files, the rival party used to threaten to kill my husband, and it is my suspicion that they hired Bharat Jayantilal Raval to kill him”.
An employee of a stationery shop in Malad West, Mumbai, was arrested on Saturday, less than 24 hours after he allegedly murdered a Dalit lawyer and activist in Gujarat’s Kutch district over his social media posts, reported the Indian Express. The IE report quoted Mumbai Police information that the arrested accused, Bharat Raval, also hails from Rapar, had clashed with Maheshwari on his views on Brahminism. “Maheshwari wrote and shared posts critical of Brahminism on his Facebook page. Raval disagreed with those views and warned Maheshwari on several occasions to refrain from writing such posts publicly,” the IE quoted a Crime Branch official, adding that according to police, both Maheshwari and Raval had clashed repeatedly over the past one month. “Raval, who is Brahmin, had asked Maheshwari not to create trouble since both of them are from the same village. He also threatened him at his office once. But Maheshwari told him that he would not back down and challenged him to do what he liked,” the police official told IE.
However Waman Meshram, National President BAMCEF said that information is false and is a spin given by the media, and the police.
The Indian Express और जनसत्ता ने क्रांतिकारी कार्यकर्ता एड.देवजीभाई कि हत्या की झूठी और गलत जानकारी लोगों को देने और उनकी हत्या का समर्थन करने के षडयंत्र का हम सोशल मीडिया के जरीये निषेध करते है.
— Waman Meshram (@WamanCMeshram) September 27, 2020
According to the Mumbai Police, the accused Raval travelled to Rapar from Malad on Wednesday with the intention of murdering Maheshwari. The CCTV footage from the area showed Maheshwari entering his office building at 6 P.M on Friday and a man wearing a red T-shirt following him inside. Seconds later, the man runs out of the building and flees, stated IE. Raval was booked under charges of murder and criminal conspiracy and under sections of the SC/ST Act at Rapar police station. A team from the Gujarat Police arrived in Mumbai late Saturday night to take custody of Raval.
The Crime Branch official told the IE that Raval, who was identified as the man in the CCTV footage, was acting alone. However, the Gujarat Police have registered an FIR against nine accused, including Raval. On Saturday, hours after members of the Dalit community in Rapar took to the streets, demanding the arrest of Maheshwari’s assailants, five of the nine accused, besides Raval, were arrested, while the others are absconding.
When will the police arrest the associates of Bharat Rawal who murdered Devjibhai Maheshwari, soldier of BAMCEF Gujarat and state in-charge of Indian Legal Professional Association.?#HangTheCulpritsOfDevajibhai pic.twitter.com/rnTwIwc6N1
— S Kumar (@Mulnivasi92) September 27, 2020
The BJP government of Brahmins appears to be actively involved in the murder of Devjibhai Maheshwari,Gujarat state in-charge of the Indian Legal Professional Association.
— We are BMP supporters (@BMPsupporters) September 27, 2020
According to the Indian Express, V L Matang, National President of the Bahujan Mukti Party, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a CBI probe into the murder. “The (Kutch) district police registered an FIR at 1 am on Saturday, eight hours after the murder took place, and named nine people as accused… The police’s behaviour seems suspicious and we suspect that the district administration is attempting to shield the accused. We expect you to issue an order for a CBI probe within 24 hours of this letter reaching your office,” he wrote.
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