The district police are yet to make any headway into the death of a 28-year-old man during the violence that erupted near Bhima Koregaon village on January 1 during the bicentennial event to commemorate a war. Rahul Phatangale, a resident of Kanur Mesai village, was the lone casualty in the Monday's violence that sparked angry protests by dalit groups across Maharashtra for the next two days. "We are investigating the case (death of Phatangale) and there is a little progress in the investigation. We have received some conclusive clues.
However, to come to a conclusion, we need to strengthen the evidence as well as (understand) the circumstances," said Suvez Haque, Superintendent of Police, Pune Rural Police. However, the circumstances surrounding Phatangale's death are not clear yet. Phatangale's family had claimed that he was no way related to the violence and had stepped out of his house to buy some vegetables when he was attacked. Police have arrested 18 people in connection with the violence post the Vadhu Budruk village incident, where a board near a 'tomb' of a dalit was allegedly damaged. The damage caused to the board near the structure, which dalits claim is the tomb of one Govind Gopal Mahar, was the trigger behind the clashes between Dalits and Marathas. Dalits believe that it was Mahar who performed the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, who was tortured to death by Aurangzeb. Haque said the police are assessing the footages of the Bhima Koregaon violence and will identify the miscreants accordingly. The SP said a total of seven people were arrested in connection with the Vadhu Budruk incident and were booked under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. Family members of Phatangale have appealed for peace. Locals belonging to different communities from Koregaon, Vadhu Budruk, Sanaswadi and other adjoining villages have also announced resolution of their differences. "We have resolved our differences. All our differences are over. We appeal to everybody not to capitalise on the issue anymore as we have decided to maintain cordial relations and also maintain social harmony among us," a Vadhu Budruk resident said.
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