Who Was Akku Yadav? Why Was He Murdered?
Who Was Akku Yadav? Why Was He Murdered?
In August 2004, what happened in a courtroom in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, was the end of more than a decade of crimes that had not been punished.
“Indian Predator: Murder in a Courtroom,” a three-part docuseries on Netflix, is about the well-known lynching of Bharat Kalicharan, also known as Akku Yadav, by a group mostly made up of women and children. The show looks into Akku’s supposed crimes and what led to him being killed by a mob. So, if you have the same question, we have the answer.
Who Was Akku Yadav?
Akku Yadav was born in 1971 into a big family of cattle farmers. As shown on the show, he started doing bad things at a young age, just like his brother. Lallu worked on the railroads, but he was also a bad guy. Akku used to break into people’s homes and steal things, but what happened over the next 15 years was beyond his wildest dreams. Yet, people who live in Kasturba Nagar in Nagpur say that the police didn’t do much to stop him.
Most of the people who lived in Kasturba Nagar were Dalits, who are considered “untouchables” in India. Akku scared the people there and was accused of raping and killing several of them. In one case, he and his followers are said to have raped a woman. But when she told the police, it was said that the police had also sexually assaulted her. Another woman was raped 10 days before she gave birth, and then she set herself on fire to kill herself.
The people who live there also said that Akku and his group raped a woman who was seven months pregnant in the middle of the road. They also said that he once made a man get naked in front of his young daughter and dance. Akku was also accused of killing at least three people, including a woman in front of her daughter by chopping her up. But even though Akku was arrested more than once, he was soon released because he gave the police money and alcohol, which made them let him go.
People who lived there talked about how Akku controlled men by sexually assaulting women. Even when the women went to the police to file a complaint, they accused the survivors of having an affair with Akku or said, “You’re a loose woman. He raped you because of this.” Then, in 2004, Akku attacked the neighboring family of the Narayane family. Usha Narayane went to the police even though she was told not to. She was one of the few educated people in the area.
So, Akku and his gang surrounded her house, and he threatened to rape and kill her. But she pulled out a gas can and said she would take everyone with her that day. This made the other people angry, and they rose up against Akku. So, he left the area and turned himself in to the police on August 7, 2004, so they could protect him. A few days later, the people in the area found out that Akku would be freed because a bail hearing was set for August 13, 2004.
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Why Was Akku Yadav Murdered?
That day, a lot of women went to the courthouse, where they saw Akku. When he walked by a woman he had raped before, he allegedly started calling her names and threatening to rape her again, while the police just laughed. The woman got angry and started hitting Akku with her slipper, which led to a group of women attacking him.
As Akku and the police officers ran away, the women threw chili powder in their faces. The mob repeatedly stabbed Akku with vegetable knives, and one of them cut off his penis. He yelled, “Please forgive me!” As he was being killed, he said, “I won’t do it again!” The 32-year-old man was stabbed more than 70 times and died as the crowd ran away. People thought that the attack was the end of years of frustration with the police, who often didn’t take complaints seriously and were said to be on Akku’s side.
Five women were arrested, but after protests, bail was quickly given to them. V. Chandra, a leader of a trade union, said that the lynching would remind people that the legal system worked, and he said that the killing was right. Even though 21 people were accused of the murder, they were all found not guilty in November 2014. The judge said that eyewitness accounts were not reliable and that there was no solid evidence that the accused people had killed the person.
Akku Yadav grew up in the slum of Kasturba Nagar, which is near the city of Nagpur, in the state of Maharashtra. Santosh and Yuvraj were his brothers. Yadav lived and did business in the slum, which police say was home to some criminals and two rival gangs that worked the area. In her book Killing Justice: Vigilantism in Nagpur, author Swati Mehta wrote, “By all accounts, Akku had gone from being the son of a milkman to being a local menace. He was a child of the neighborhood.”
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In their book Half the Sky: How Women Around the World Can Turn Oppression into Opportunity, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn wrote: “Akku Yadav was, in a way, Kasturba Nagar’s other “success.” He was a terrible person who went from being a small-time thug to being a mobster and the king of the slum.” Yadav was in charge of a group of thieves who ran the Kasturba Nagar slum. They stole, beat, and killed people without getting caught. Yadav broke the law for a number of years while he built a small business empire. He and his gang members would often bother and scare people into giving them money. His main way to make money was to force people to give him money, and he would hurt them if they didn’t or if they did something to make him angry. Yadav always said that he would rape anyone who stood up to him. It is known that many of Yadav’s rape victims were Dalits, who have a hard time getting justice for sexual assaults compared to other groups.
Yadav was mean to Pratibha Urkude and her husband Dattu for many years. They ran a small grocery store. He would take things from the store without paying or only pay a small amount of what he owed. He would sometimes ask for money and get violent if they couldn’t pay. Yadav often worried that someone was making plans to hurt him. So, he wouldn’t let men or women get together and talk. He made sure that kids their age didn’t play together, and if they did, Yadav would stop them. Suspecting that people were asking about him, he would tell them not to tell police about his crimes and threaten them if they did. Because the bodies were in the way, he had to pay off the police to keep them from stopping him.
But rape was very shameful, so the people who were raped could be counted on to keep quiet. Yadav raped people to make them quiet much more often than he killed them. The women who killed Yadav said he had been robbing and abusing local women for more than a decade without getting caught. They said that Yadav was paying off local police so that they wouldn’t help his victims or press charges. Mehta says that Akku Yadav’s first crime, in 1991, was a gang rape. He also did things like rape, murder, theft, extortion, home invasion, assault, and intimidating criminals. Yadav had been arrested about 14 times before he died. He was locked up for a year at the end of 1999 because of a law in Maharashtra called the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Slumlords, Boot-leggers, Drug Offenders, and Dangerous Persons Act of 1981.
People in the Kasturba Nagar slum say that Yadav raped so many people that a rape victim lives in every other house there. Yadav is said to have raped more than 40 women, the youngest of whom was a 10-year-old girl. One person called Yadav “the Gabbar Singh of Kasturba Nagar” and said, “When Akku was around, we mostly stayed inside.” Women have said that Yadav and his group would break into homes at any time. He sometimes wanted a motorcycle, stole a cell phone, or tried to force people to give him money. Yadav and the other people in his gang would beat up anyone who stood in their way. Anjana Bai Borkar’s daughter Asha Bai was killed in front of her 16-year-old granddaughter. Borkar was one of the five women who were arrested for the lynching of Yadav. When the granddaughter talked about Yadav, she said: “We were eating dinner when he came to the door and said he was my brother’s friend. He pulled her out of the house and stabbed her when she opened the door. He then cut off her fingers to get her rings and her ears to get her earrings.” At least three people were said to have been killed by Yadav and their bodies dumped on nearby railroad tracks.
One woman talked about how Yadav attacked her and her husband. He went to their house between 4 and 5 in the morning. Yadav knocked on their door loudly and said he was a police officer. He asked them to open the door. Once Yadav got inside, he stabbed the husband in the thigh with a knife, locked him in the bathroom, and pulled the wife away by her hair to a place where he raped her. After three or four hours, Yadav let her come back. In January 2004, Yadav was not allowed to go into the city of Nagpur. Yadav beat up an old man named Harichand Khorse because he couldn’t pay 100 rupees. Harichand Khorse made a small amount of money by playing a musical instrument called a baja. Neighbors in Kasturba Nagar say that Yadav once raped a woman right after she got married. He also took a man’s clothes off, burned him with a cigarette, and made him dance for the man’s 16-year-old daughter. Yadav took a woman named Asho Bhagat and cut off both of her breasts in front of her daughter and a few neighbors. Yadav then killed Bhagat by cutting her up on the street. A neighbor named Avinash Tiwari was horrified by the murder and planned to tell the police about Yadav. Because of this, Yadav killed him. Ten days after Kalma gave birth, Yadav and his men raped her in a group. After what happened to her, Kalma killed herself by dousing herself in kerosene and setting herself on fire. Yadav’s group pulled a woman who was seven months pregnant out of her home. They took off her clothes and raped her in public on the road.
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