Sagar Shejwal, a resident of Shirdi was allegedly killed for his mobile ringtone. Shejwal, had returned home to attend a wedding last week, and the incident occurred when he went to a local beer shop. He was assaulted according to Vivek Patil, Deputy Superintendent of Police, as reported by The Hindu.
Mr Patil said, “Eight youths were sitting at a table at the shop. When Sagar’s mobile rang with the Ambedkar song as its ringtone, the youths told him to switch it off. In a police statement, the cousin has described the song as Tumhi kara re kitihi halla / Mazbut Bhimacha quilla [Shout all you want / Bhim’s fortress is strong]. This is possibly a reference to the 1818 battle of Bhima Koregaon, where 500 ‘untouchable’ soldier defeated Maharashtra’s ruling Brahmin Peshwa army of over 30,000 in one day.
Patil describes how Sagar was hit with a beer bottle, and repeatedly assaulted. Then, he was dragged to a nearby forest, where he was crushed to death under a bike. “Sagar’s body was found around 6.30 p.m. in a naked state near Rui village. According to reports, the cause of death stated was multiple fractures. The autopsy says Sagar sustained around 25 injuries.”
CCTV footage from the beer shop showed the attacker’s faces, and was used to make arrests. The beer shop’s owner, Sandeep Ghorpade, claimed that he had informed the nearby police station immediately, but there was no response.
The Hindu reported that Sagar’s killers were “from the dominant Maratha and OBC communities”. This might be relevant – along with being one of the framers, Ambedkar was India’s first high profile Dalit and was outspoken against the caste system. His strong speeches and writings against the tyranny of the caste generated many critics among the elite castes, and attacks by upper caste vandals on statues of Ambedkar and Dalit icons aren’t exactly rare. As Dr. Ambedkar had himself noted, “If you want to destroy a society, destroy its history…”