Police arrest three, on the lookout for six more accused

A man and two of his sons were on Wednesday arrested in the Himayat Nagar taluka of Nanded for allegedly murdering a Dalit woman after she demanded that the man hand over charge of the ration shop he ran for her. The arrests follow protests in the area. The police are looking for six more accused, all said to be relatives of the main accused. While the incident took place early on Tuesday, the victim’s relatives took the body only later that night after cases were booked.

According to the police, Nirmalabai Sakharam Hanavate (45), a single woman, owned the ration shop in Himayat Nagar. “For the past 10-15 years, her shop was being run by Abdul Karim. A few days ago, she asked him to return her shop. She told him that she had now built her house and that her grown-up nephew would run the shop. A fight ensued between them as Karim did not want to part with the profit he was getting from the shop,” Nanded Superintendent of Police V.M. Jadhav told The Hindu on Wednesday.

According to Mr. Jadhav, Karim’s son Shahid (25) ran Ms. Hanavate over with a tractor when she had gone to procure material from the godown. “According to eyewitnesses, she fell into a ditch. Shahid took her out from the ditch and ran the tractor over her again — this time over her head, killing her instantly.”

The victim’s kin suspect that the delay in police action was owing to one of the main accused’s sons being the former president of the Congress’ Himayat Nagar branch.

“Yes, there were protests yesterday [Tuesday]. We booked a case of murder against nine accused. The body was sent for post mortem on Tuesday night. The last rites were carried out today [Wednesday] afternoon. The situation is peaceful and under control,” Mr. Jadhav said.

“We have booked them for murder under Section 302 of IPC [the Indian Penal Code]. Since the crime was committed against a Dalit woman, we have also booked them under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe [Prevention of Atrocities] Act,” he said.