Pune, Apr 23 (PTI) A 19-year-old Dalit woman, whose house was burnt down during the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune district earlier this year, was found dead, with Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar today claiming it appeared to be a "murder".

A senior police officer said that a case of abetment of suicide was registered against nine people, and two of them have been arrested.

The body of Pooja Sakat was found in a well near her house in Bhima-Koregaon area yesterday morning. The day before, her family had registered a complaint that she was missing, a police officer had said earlier in the day.

Her family alleged that some persons, whom she had named as accused in her statement to the police after her house was torched on January 1, were threatening and pressurising her to withdraw her statement, which drove her to suicide.

The police registered a case of abetment of suicide under IPC section 306 and offences under the Scheduled Castes And Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

There were no injury marks on her body, the police officer said. No suicide note was recovered, and further probe was underway, he added.

Pune Rural Superintendent of Police Suvez Haq told PTI there was a property dispute between the victim's family and some of the accused persons, and police were probing all angles. A case has been registered against nine people and two of them have been arrested, he said.

Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, said it seemed to be a case of murder.

"The firsthand report that I have got indicates that she was murdered. The autopsy report is awaited. All the people who have been named in the family's complaint should be arrested immediately," he said.

The police were reluctant to register the offence initially, he alleged, while rubbishing the theory that the death was related to the property dispute.

Dalits visiting the War Memorial at Bhima-Koregaon for commemorating the bicentenary of an 1818 victory of the East India Company over the Peshwa's forces came under attack on January 1 this year. One person was killed and property worth crores of rupees was damaged.

Sakat family's house was burnt on January 2, and they are living in a rented house since then.

Dalit groups commemorate the 1818 battle as the East India Company's army consisted of Mahars, a Dalit community, who defeated the upper-caste Peshwa's forces. However, some Hindutva organisations had opposed the commemoration this time.

Following the incidents of January 1, Ambedkar had given a call for state-wide shut-down on January 3, which too witnessed violence in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra.

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