Hindu Rashtra President Dhananjay Desai arrested for brutal assault on farmer

Hindu Rashtra president Dhananjay Desai was previously accused of murdering Pune IT professional Mohsin Shaikh

Hindu Rashtra chief Dhananjay Desai (Photo: NH Library)
Hindu Rashtra chief Dhananjay Desai (Photo: NH Library)

Nadeem Inamdar

The Pune Rural Police have arrested Hindu Rashtra president Dhananjay Desai and six others in connection with the brutal beating of a Paud farmer for not transferring his land to Desai’s name. Victim Pradip Shivaji Balkawade, 35, a resident of Darawali, Mulshi taluka has lodged an FIR against the accused at Paud Police Station. Desai and others were booked under 18 sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the FIR registered on Tuesday, August 1.

Police Station Incharge Manoj Yadav said that Desai and six others were arrested on the same day of the FIR for charges ranging from attempt to murder, house trespass, rioting and criminal intimidation read with charges of criminal conspiracy.

Balkawade in his FIR said that the incident took place on Aug 1 at 11:15 am in the house of Sachin Sambhaji Thombare where he was sitting. 15 persons barged inside the house, dragged him out and assaulted him with iron rods and a sharp weapon, resulting in a head injury. The accused further threatened to kill his entire family if he did not transfer his land to Desai. The attackers also threatened passers-by with swords and choppers saying that they would have to face dire consequences if they stopped at the incident spot, the complaint stated.

In January 2024, Desai and 19 others were acquitted of murder of IT professional Mohsin Shaikh in Hadapsar, during June 2014.

Shaikh, a native of Solapur, along with his friend Riyaz Ahmad Mubarak Shendure was returning home after offering prayers when he was beaten up by youths owing allegiance to HRS. His brother Mubeen Shaikh lodged an FIR against the accused. Shaikh’s murder took place at the time when violent protests broke out in Pune over offensive and morphed images of Chhatrapati Shivaji and late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray that went viral on social media.

Following the incident, a riot-like situation had prevailed in Hadapsar. Shaikh sported a Muslim beard and had worn a green Pathani kurta on the evening of June 2 when around 25 members of the HRS came on bikes and beat him up with hockey sticks and stones at Hadapsar which led to his murder.

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