A Pune teenager’s death last Friday has set Pune on the boil. Savan Rathod, 17, died last week but the details trickling out now after the boy’s last words were recorded on video, indicate that he was burnt after he admitted to being ‘Hindu’.
“I was working with my family in Pandhapur. I had a dispute with them and came to Pune looking for work…While I was taking a leak, three persons objected and asked me my name. I said Savan Rathod. They asked me if I am Hindu? I said, yes. Then they poured something over me from a can and set me on fire,” is what Rathod said before he succumbed to burn injuries, reports The Indian Express.
Barely able to speak, Savan shakes his head in the affirmative when asked whether he feels he was burnt because he is a Hindu, says the report.
The 17-year-old’s father has alleged that his son was burnt alive after he identified himself as a Hindu.
The Express reports that some right wing groups are claiming that the manner in which Savan Rathod was killed are typical of Islamic State militants and now want an anti-terror squad to investigate.
A local court has extended police custody of the three suspects — Imran and Zuber Tamboli, and Ibrahim Sheikh — until 25 January.
According to the FIR, Rathod was set on fire with petrol by the three suspects in Kasba Peth on 13 January.
Advocate Ramesh Rathod of Banjara Kranti Dal admits to have recorded the video. “When we went to the hospital on Thursday evening… Savan’s situation was bad. So we asked police to record his statement before he dies. But the cops refused, saying he himself was the complainant. So I recorded his dying declaration on my cellphone in the presence of his father and other activists. He did not mention anything about theft. Maybe, police fear that revealing the facts would create communal tensions,” Rathod is quoted as saying in The Indian Express.
DCP Tushar Doshi said that the police have not found any communal links of the suspects.
“After nabbing Savan, the assailants questioned him for battery theft for a few hours. We confirmed at least two spots where they took Savan, suspecting he had sold stolen batteries here. Then they forcibly made him drink petrol and set him on fire… Savan Rathod’s video at the hospital could be an afterthought as he did not mention anything of a communal nature when FIR was lodged,” Doshi told the newspaper.