Sonawane’s burning: Maharashtra government employees on strike

Thursday, January 27, 2011

MUMBAI/MANMAD - Lakhs of government employees across Maharashtra Thursday went on a strike and residents of Manmad city observed a total shutdown to protest the burning of Nashik additional collector Yashwant Sonawane, officials said.

“We strongly demand protection of government officials to prevent such untoward incidents in future. Sonawane was on duty while he was burnt to death. We demand that such raids should be conducted only under strict police protection,” said Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Federation general secretary G.V. Kulthe.

Sonawane was burnt to death in broad daylight by a gang of fuel pilferers when he raided their premises near Manmad Tuesday afternoon.

The employees strike called by the Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Federation for Class 1 and Class 2 officers was supported by other unions.

Police have arrested all the 11 accused in connection with the incident. They have been remanded to police custody till Feb 8.

The city of Manmad Thursday observed a total shutdown as school, colleges, shops and offices remained closed.

Meanwhile, Sonawane’s driver Kailash Gawli also spoke up about the incident saying he tried to save him, but failed.

“I can identify the goons who gathered there Tuesday, but cannot identify the ones who set my boss on fire as I could not see their faces,” Gawli said.

Gawli also confirmed that Sonawane was burnt because he tried to take pictures of kerosene being stolen from an oil tanker.

Sonawane, 44, was doused with kerosene and burnt alive in Panewadi, near Manmad in Nashik district Tuesday, when he went to conduct a raid on the local fuel mafia suspected to be pilfering kerosene from tankers.

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