At a meeting with the guardian minister for Satara district, Shambhaji Desai on September 14 and 15, citizens of Satara discussed and demanded payment of adequate compensation to the victim, Nurul Hasan’s family (Hasan was killed inside a mosque when violence broke out following a social media post on September 10-11) and a visit to the family by the politician. The minister in the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) government had been trying to “persuade” citizens of Satara not to carry out a peace march.
Vijay Mandke a senior activist and vice president of the local Patrakar Sangh told SanrangIndia that constant meetings were on with the police administration as having a demonstration of peace and solidarity through a city wide march was being discussed. In the memorandum submitted to the police authorities, citizens have also demanded the resignation of Maharashtra home minister, Devendra Phadnavis, the institution of an independent judicial inquiry into the violence as also the establishment of an Activists/Citizens Committee to make inquiries and investigations as had happened in the cases of the Khairlanjee atrocities case.
Significantly, the citizens’ delegation has also demanded that the violence that broke out on September 10 be looked at in its totality and the communal and inflammatory activities of Vikram Pawaskar, president of the Hindu Sena be thoroughly investigated and they me included in the wider conspiracy that led to the violence
Here is what the memorandum submitted to the District Collector, Satar, on September 11, states:
Subject: Regarding the incident at Pusesawali Dist. Satara.
Yesterday on 10/09/2023 late night Muslim minority in Pusesavali and its mosques were attacked by Shiv Pratisthan workers. Two persons were killed, 10 persons were seriously injured, shops were set on fire, mosques were set on fire. All forms are extremely irritating and show the inefficiency of the police administration. This attack happened because the police did not take timely action against the attackers in connection with various incidents that happened in the last three months.
However, taking moral responsibility for this, Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis should immediately resign, Superintendent of Police of Satara district and related police officers should be immediately dismissed and dismissed.
Satara district is known as a peaceful, religious and communally harmonious district. Satara district, which is a pioneer in the movement of social transformation, has suffered due to the inefficiency of the police administration. Due to this, all the Satarkars have strong feelings about this. As the district head, we should take note of this.
The administration is supporting anti-social organizations like Shivpratisthan which create communal tension. Parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are misusing the power of being in power. We strongly condemn this.
The signatories to the memorandum are:
- Rajni Pawar President of Satara Shahar Congress.
- Adv. Shailja Jadhav, Satara
- Arif Shaikh
- 4. Minaj Saiyed
- Adv. Varsha Deshpante
- Kailas Patil
- Vikrant Pawar + Aslam Tadsarkar (India Citizens Manch)
- Balkrishna Desai (District President, Vanchit Aghadi Satara District)
- Ganesh Bhise (Chief Secretary)
- Narayan Jawalikar
- Sanjay Gade (RPI)
- Babanrao Karde (Vice President Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi Satara)
- Sandeep Kamble
- Kishore Dhumal (Labour Alliance)
- Vijay Nikam (All labor unions)
- Mohammad Hussain Bashir Palkar
- Dr. Dattajirao B. Jadhav
- Adv. Payal Sanjay Gade
- Vijay Mandke
After five days of beefed-up police security and over 72- hours of internet shutdown across Satara district in western Maharashtra, the district administration said that “peace has finally been restored”. But Muslim residents of Pusesavali village, where violence broke out on September 9 killing one youth and leaving several injured, still fear that the uneasy calm can turn violent at any moment, the Indian Express and Wire have reported
On September 9, a mob of Hindu men ran amok in Pusesavali village in Satara district after an objectionable post against Shivaji allegedly went viral on social media. Tensions based on the post, allegedly put out by a Muslim youth, soon became a full-blown riot. The mob, comprising Hindu men from Pursesavali and neighbouring villages of Thorvewadi NV and Wadgaon Jairam Swami, converged around 8 pm in the village and began ransacking houses and commercial units belonging to Muslims.
Thirty-two-year-old Nurul Hasan Shikalgar, an engineer and a man who ran a local earthmover, was among the Muslim men at the mosque gathered to offer the Isha (day’s last) Namaz. “The mob had sticks and stones in their hands. The mosque doors were shut but they applied forced and entered the space. They hit us with sharp objects,” said a 26-year-old man who suffered serious injuries to his head and has been undergoing treatment at a local hospital. Shikalgar too was hit on his head many times. “Even before we could offer him help, Nurul had died,” said the man.
Shikalgar’s uncle Shiraj confirmed that by the time they found the young man, it was lying “lifeless” without a pulse or heartbeat. Shikalgar was declared dead at the local Krishna Charitable Trust Hospital in Satara. Disturbed by Shikalgar’s death, his family and other community members gathered at the hospital and refused to move the body for cremation till the time police arrested the attackers.
Earlier, rumours were spread, especially on WhatsApp, that Shikalgar had a role in posting objectionable posts on Shivaji. But a senior policeman, privy to the investigation, confirmed to the media that Shikalgar had absolutely no role in this. “We looked into things and can confirm he just became a victim of mob violence,” the senior officer said.
Reportedly, Shikalgar was one of the few educated Muslim men from Pusesavali village. In a village of over 1,300 families, less than 10% belong to the Muslim community. Most of them run the local village businesses, like retail stores and automobile spare parts shops. Shikalgar’s father Liyaqat teaches at a local Urdu school. His mother worked as a nurse at a local government hospital and only recently retired. Shikagar was married for less than a year and his wife, Ayesha, is five months pregnant. The couple were expecting their first child.
What happened in Pusesavali village was not a sudden incident. Tension was building up for over a month, villagers say. The police too confirm that they had “anticipated the worst”. The first inflammatory post, allegedly against a Hindu goddess, first emerged on social media on August 15. This post, allegedly put up by a young man from the Muslim community, was soon taken down and the police had arrested the person. He was let off on bail eventually.
Police had initially registered two cases. In the first, the accused were booked for Shikalgar’s murder among other charges. Police have till now arrested 19 people in this case who have been remanded in police custody till September 15.
The second case was about the alleged objectionable social media content in which two suspects have been identified and are being questioned by the police.
Meanwhile, a third case was also registered in connection with the attack on police personnel, rioting, arson and vandalism. In the third case, the Satara police said that they arrested 15 people on Wednesday who have been remanded in police custody till September 16. Satara district Superintendent of Police Sameer Shaikh confirmed the arrest of 15 people in the third case, adding that the further probe was on.