A day after farmer Chandrakant Nalawade was killed allegedly in police firing at Sangli-Pachwamail road in Sangli district, his friends claimed he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. They claim that Nalawade was returning from a funeral, and curiosity got the better of him when he saw the large crowd gathered at the spot.
He went to have a glimpse, and was caught in the mayhem. Mistaking him to be protester, police, they say, fired five bullets at him. “Chandrakant was not an agitator. He had gone to see what was happening on the Sangli-Pachwamail road, and became a victim of police firing,” said Shashikant Pawar, Nalawade’s friend.
Following the tragic incident, the condition of Sarika Nalawade, Chandrakant’s wife, who has heart ailment, has worsened and she is being administered saline. According to villagers of Vasagade village, Nalawade’s death has put the family in a financial crisis. Nalawade (33), was the lone breadwinner of the family. He had purchased a two-acre plot in the village two months ago to grow sugarcane in the hope that it would get fetch him enough money to tide over their financial difficulties.
Before the recent purchase of land, Nalawade worked on another villager’s farm. “He was educated and had a masters degree in Arts. When he didn’t get a job, he started working at someone else’s farm in the village to meet his family’s daily expenses. Chandrakant’s father had died when he was very
young. His wife is a heart patient and they have two kids, ” Pawar said.
One more funeral
“Some of us [villagers] along with Nalawade had gone for the last rites of one of our acquaintances. While returning to our village, Nalawade saw a huge crowd at Sangli-Pachwamail Road, and out of curiosity he alone went to see what exactly was happening there,” said Pawar. Nalawade’s other friend and a resident of Vasagade village, Santosh Benade, who carried him to the hospital after he was hit by five police bullets, said that police fired at him thinking he was an agitator. “He [Nalwade] was a peace-loving man and was very calm in nature. There’s no question of him being an agitator,” Benade said.
Meanwhile, local sources said a mob of protesters pelted police vehicles with stones, and didn’t allow cops to enter the village when Nalawade was cremated yesterday. Farmers had planned a demonstration against the low advance payment of sugarcane on Monday, but as a preventive measure police detained Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and MP Raju Shetty and many protesters early in the morning. Angered with the detention farmers turned violent and started damaging public property, and attacked policemen. In retaliation, police first fired in the air, and when matters got worse, they started firing at the protesters thereby hitting Nalawade.