Abhinav Mohanbhai Delkar
|State President Indian Youth Congress, Dadra and Nagar Haveli |
|Assumed office |
|Born||28 March 1990|
Silvassa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
|Residence||Dadra and Nagar Haveli|
Abhinav Mohanbhai Delkar is a politician and campaigner. He is the son of the late tribal rights advocate Mohanbhai Sanjibhai Delkar Lok Sabha MP of the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. Abhinav's paternal grandfather was Sanjibhai Delkar, former Lok Sabha MP of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Abhinav is a Trustee of the Svargiya Sanjhibhai Rupjhibai Memorial Trust (SSRMT), a self financed charitable mission which built four Pune University affiliated colleges:
- SSR College of Arts, Science and Commerce
- SSR College of Pharmacy
- SSR College of Education
- SSR Institute of Management and Research
SSRMT also provided land for the establishment of a fifth college:
- NAMO Medical Education and Research Institute
In 2019 Abhinav was profiled by The Statesman (India) and the Deccan Herald with them stating, "His agendas were the reason which made him being recognized over that national level which politicians take years to get to".
In 2020 Abhinav's father flagged in parliament the harassment meted out upon him by the local administration "as part of a conspiracy" claiming that on Liberation Day (2 August), he was "denied the right to address the people of the region as an MP".
After his father's death on 22 February 2021, Abhinav Delkar explained to the Indian Press that "The local administration had made things very difficult for him and our supporters. A feeling of helplessness had crept into him as in spite of being an MP, he was unable to help his own supporters". Abhinav explains that his father's supporters and tribal workers had been sacked from their jobs in a local government school because they had supported him in elections. SSR College of Arts, Science and Commerce was set up by Mohan Delkar but "over 350 police personnel had turned up outside our college with bulldozers on June 27, 2020 to demolish the structure. They stopped only when my father managed to get a stay from the court". Abhinav recalled to Mid Day conversations when his father named harassers Praful Khoda Patel, collector Sandeep Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police Sharad Darade, Deputy Superintendent of Police Manasvi Jain, Resident Deputy Collector Apurva Sharma and a law officer".
Campaign for Justice for Mohan Delkar's Death
On 25 February 2021 Abhinav wrote to the Prime Minister of India requesting, "my father Mohan Delkar has been mentally stressed for some time and the purpose of writing this letter is to get justice… The statement given by home minister of Maharashtra on February 24 states that DNH administrator is directly involved in forcing my dad to commit suicide… we the people of DNH cannot bear accept such a person… we request you to immediately remove administrator Praful Patel from DNH. I have full faith in the investigation done by Mumbai Police… this is an appeal from a son to you…"
The state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, C. R. Patil MP, granted Abhinav a meeting at his office in Surat on 7 March 2021. Abhinav told the Press that C. R. Paatil "was my father’s colleague in the Parliament. We demanded that Praful Patel must be removed as administrator since he is facing allegations in the case of my father’s death. Free and fair investigation will not be possible if he continues to be the administrator. Paatilji has assured his support." 
Abhinav and his mother Kalaben travelled to the Vidhan Bhavan on 9 March 2021 stating, "I had come to Mumbai and met the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of Maharashtra. They assured me that they will help in giving justice to my family. The administrator left no stone unturned to humiliate my father. Blackmail and extortion tactics were also used. The harassment went on for last 16 to 18 months." 
First Information Report
They then travelled to Marine Drive police station at 5pm to record a statement until 10pm by Assistant Commissioner of Police Pandurang Shinde resulting in the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) under Section 306 (abetment of suicide), 389 (Putting person in fear of accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation) and sections of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against Praful Patel, the collector Sandeep Kumar Singh, police superintendent Sharad Bhaskar Darade, deputy collector Apurva Sharma, sub-divisional officer Manasvi Jain, police inspector Manoj Patel, DNH Law Secretary Rohit P. Yadav, Dilip Patel (Talathi) and BJP leader Fatehsinh V Chauhan who has a history of land grabbing disputes.
The FIR states that administator Praful Patel was, "using the local administration to threaten my father of implicating him in a false case. He had also demanded Rs 25 crore ($3.5 millon USD) from my father and threatened that if he fails to pay the amount, they would implicate him in a false case under PASA Act. The administration and its various officers would keep filing unfounded and false complaints against my father. There was harassment by the police. For the last one year, my father had been under mental tension. Under the guidance of Praful Patel, the administrative officials used to target him, and harass and insult him. The reason behind doing it was that they wanted to get control over SSR College (worth Rs 100 crore / $14 millon USD) at Silvassa run by my father and finish his political career for next Lok Sabha election." The statement alleges that former superintendent Sharad Bhaskar Darade and police inspector Manoj Patel "reopened an old case (137/2003)" to torment the MP and were constantly calling him in for grilling.
The statement declares, "My father is the MP but these people insulted him and treated him badly. He was not allowed and was stopped from giving speeches at public functions. My father is usually invited as chief guest for programmes where he delivers his speeches. This tradition has been followed for the last 66 years now. But in 2020, the collector, Rawat, became the Chief Guest and delivered the speech as well. In a civil matter related to their ancestral properties, my father was to remain present before Resident Deputy Collector Apurva Sharma’s office on January 2, 2021. Due to his busy schedule, my father had sent his friend Indrajeet Parmar of Silvassa with a letter, authorising him as a representative, but the RDC’s office did not accept him". The district administration then went on to create a police case against Indrajeet Parmar.
The statement further details, "My father had complained about such insults to Lok Sabha Vishesh Adhikar Samiti (Committee of Privileges) and Lok Sabha speaker". From 18 December 2020 to 19 January 2021, Mohan Delkar made complaints against those named in the FIR to Prime Minister Modi, home minister Amit Shah, Speaker Om Birla, Parlimentary Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice committee chairman Bhupender Yadav. On 12 February 2021 Sunil Kumar Singh chaired a Lok Sabha Privileges Committee hearing where Mohan Delkar announced, "If harassment to me is not stopped, then I would be left with no option but committing suicide." Those named in the FIR then responded with even more aggression harassment, the statement alleges. Abhinav implored to Mohan Delkar file complaints in court but his father was terrified that Praful Patel's retaliation making his life a living hell. Abhinav told the press that his father travelled to Delhi specifically to attend meetings with the Prime Minister and Home Minister asking them for help but this no help was given.
Hours before the FIR was registered Anil Deshmukh Home Minister of the Government of Maharashtra announced in the Vidhan Bhavan the creation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the suicide.
During the 10 March 2021 parliamentary Zero Hour session, Vinayak Raut MP declared:
MVA government in Maharashtra has deputed ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) to probe the matter but I request the PM through this House that the local Administration, SP (Superintendent) and Collector should be sacked and tried under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
Committee of Privileges referral request
On 10 March 2021 Supriya Sule MP and Nationalist Congress Party leader issued a memorandum signed by MPs from other parties including Shashi Tharoor of Indian National Congress, Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and members of the Shiv Sena, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Trinamool Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party to Speaker of the Lok Sabha urging Om Birla to refer the case to the Committee of Privileges. The memorandum states:
The fact that a 7-time MP was frustrated to such an extent that it would drive him to extreme despair and steps to end his life is traumatic for all of us… We have lost a fellow member. It is not just a loss of life but also a strike on the dignity of Parliament. The independence and supremacy of Parliament rests on the discharge of duties by its members free of any fear or duress.
Ongoing Street Protests
Thousands joined a spontaneous candlelight vigil marching through Zanda Chowk and Kilvani Naka, Silvassa on 26 February 2021. Local leaders present included Prabhubhai Tokiya Congress President and Daman Youth Action Committee, president Umesh Patel as well as the Delkar family. Placards demanded justice for Delkar and contended that his fate was 'institutional murder'. Street protests continued daily through Silvassa and around DNH . The FIR registration resulted in the protesters demanding the removal of Praful Khoda Patel. Local politicians lead protesters with black flags on 12 March against a local administration programme resulting in its cancellation with officials leaving under police protection. On 14 March 2021 protesters burnt an effigy of Patel. The following day protesters symbolically hanged a Patel effigy and embarked upon a mock funeral procession culminating with setting it alight. Silvassa municipality Leader of Opposition, Sumanbhai Patel, stated on 15 March that the people of DNH "are losing patience as no action has been taken" and that "Mohanbhai Delkar was a mass leader and everybody loved him. Since his death, several programmes have been organised in Silvassa by his supporters. We also took part in such protests demanding that all those named in the FIR should be transferred out from Silvassa, including administrator Praful Patel." Delkar’s supporters plan further protest rallies, chakka jam (road blockade) and call a bandh (strike) in Silvassa stating they have the "support of Mohan Delkar’s wife and son. They have told us that they will take part in the protest".
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