Noted Marathi author Laxman Mane, who has been accused of rape and sexual harassment by six women, will remain untraceable for two more days, sources say, as his anticipatory bail is due to be heard on April 10 at Satara district court.
Mane has been absconding for the past two weeks and the police are still clueless of his whereabouts. When MiD DAY contacted Mane’s home in Satara, his daughter Samata said, “He is not in touch with the family. We don’t know anything about him.”
Last week, the district court had rejected Mane’s application for an ad-interim bail plea. Public prosecutor Vikas Patil said, “The hearing on Mane’s anticipatory bail is on April 10.” When asked if Mane will appear in the court on Wednesday for the hearing, he said, “We can’t say anything. But on that day I will demand that Mane be presented in the court.”
Mane, a former MLC, is an executive president of Shardabai Pawar Ashram Shala, a residential school for underprivileged in Jakatwadi (Satara district). Since March 25, six women employees from Jakatwadi and Kolhapur have lodged complaints of rape and sexual harassment.
According to the complainants, the accused repeatedly raped them between 2003 and 2010. When contacted, additional superintendent of police Amol Tambe merely said, “The investigation is on.” He admitted that despite widespread search operations, Mane remains untraceable.
65-year-old Mane is a well-known social activist and shot to fame with his autobiography Upara (An Outsider) in 1980. Upara is considered a milestone in Marathi-Dalit literature and Mane received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1981. Currently, all state universities have Mane’s literature in their PG syllabus. Senior professors associated with the Dalit movement have remarked that allegations on Mane may cast a dark shadow on his image as a writer.