Three days after a 25-year-old Bengaluru-based Dalit lawyer Dharani committed suicide allegedly due to continuous harassment by her local corporator and associates, a section of lawyers in Bengaluru held a silent protest march.
Dharani was found dead on Monday at her Vivekananda Street residence in A Narayanpura ward by her mother. According to the police complainant, Congress corporator V Suresh and his associates had disconnected water and electricity supply in her house. The complaint said that the corporator was pressurising the mother-daughter duo to give up the property.
Dharani and her mother had also filed a complaint against the corporator and his aides on the matter with Mahadevapura police but that did not help. Following her death, police have registered an FIR under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and abetment of suicide.
S Balan, senior advocate at the Karnataka High Court who led Thursday’s protest march, held police apathy responsible for the suicide. He said some section of lawyers are contemplating filing a writ petition at the Karnataka High Court.
“She (Dharani) had a small property 10x20 feet, the local goon corporator tried to encroach it. She had been fighting against them for some time and had approached the jurisdictional ACP Krishnappa. Then when it did not help, she even met the commissioner. The commissioner in turn asked her to meet the DCP. But the DCP also stood in favour of the corporator,” Balan told TNM.
“She was constantly harassed, physically beaten. She had earlier given a complaint for SC/ST atrocities and even took witnesses to DCP and ACP, they threatened them. It is an open support by the police department to the real estate goons which led to the death of this helpless advocate. It is because of both the police and real estate mafia getting together,” he added.
Speaking with TNM, Whitefield, DCP Abdul Ahad denied wrongdoing by the police.
“They had told us that they were not happy with the investigating officer. So we had assigned a different investigating officer. Initially it was being investigated by ACP Whitefield but after her meeting with the commissioner, he had ordered for a different investigator. Based on that order, I had handed the case to ACP Marathalli,” Ahad told TNM.
“As part of the investigation, ACP Marathalli had just given her a notice to appear but before she appeared against the police, she committed suicide. I do not know what lapse on part of the police you will find. I do not find any fault with the investigating officer. After the suicide case, we have arrested three persons,” he added.