(Our thanks to Shefali Vaidya who posted this on the Facebook)
Warning – Graphic Image
A lot, if you happen to be a Ph.D student and your tragic suicide can be used to malign the Hindus and to further a vicious casteist agenda.
However, if you are just a poor, uneducated Hindu kid of 16, burnt alive by Muslim criminals, your life is not worth the amount of petrol used to turn you into a human torch!
Sawan Dharma Rathod discovered this tragic truth at the cost of his life. He died in Pune around the same time Rohit Vemula committed suicide in Hyderabad.
The death of Sawan Rathod was no accident, nor was it a suicide. Sawan Rathod was burnt alive by three people. According to newspaper reports, their names were Ibrahim Mehboob Shaikh, Zuber Tamboli and Imran Tamboli. As per the newspapers, Zuber Tamboli is a known history-sheeter and has several cases against him, including a charge of attempted murder.
In a video statement recorded in the hospital just before he died, Sawan says his murderers burnt him alive just because he was a Hindu!
I have a copy of this video statement in my possession and believe me, I could not sleep the night I saw the 79 seconds video. According to his lawyer Ramesh Rathod, the police did not record his dying declaration as per procedure. The video statement has been given to the police by Ramesh Rathod.
Sawan Rathod was a poor boy from the Banjara community. His father works at a brick kiln in Pandharpur. Sawan had come to Pune to seek work, following a fight with his father. As per his dying declaration, Sawan Rathod was allegedly accosted by Zuber Tamboli and his friends at night while he had stopped in a narrow, dark lane in the city to relieve himself. They asked him his name. When he replied ’Sawan Rathod’, they allegedly asked him ‘Are you a Hindu’? Sawan clearly mentions this on the tape. When he turned away, they poured something over him from a can and lit a matchstick. Zuber and his friends then watched Sawan as he screamed for help, tormented by pain as his body was engulfed in flames.
They then put a badly burnt Sawan Rathod in a tempo and abandoned him at an isolated spot on the river bed. Sawan lay there writhing in pain for several hours till some rag-pickers found hims and called the police. He was admitted to the hospital with 75% burns. Sawan Rathod died the next day, consumed by his pain.
The FIR mentions that Sawan was burnt alive by three ‘persons’ who suspected that he was stealing batteries of vehicles on the street, but Sawan’s video statement clearly reveals another angle to the story, a sinister narrative of communal hatred.
Sawan Rathod is gone forever. His life ended before it began at the young age of 16. There will be no TV debates conducted to discuss his murder. There will be no op-eds dedicated to him. No chief minister of Delhi will fly to Pune to meet his parents, no politician will offer his family a flat.
Truth is, no one cares for the cold-blooded murder of Sawan Rathod! The names of his murderers reveal an inconvenient truth; they belong to the ‘right’ faith!
– Shefali Vaidya
Top of Form
Bottom of Form