Sangli's 'Robin Hood' Bapu Biru Vategaonkar Dies At 96

Vategaonkar, who was once a dacoit and accused of killing over 10 persons, was underground for 23 years, before being arrested in 1983.

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Sangli's 'Robin Hood' Bapu Biru Vategaonkar Dies At 96

The 96-year-old breathed his last at a hospital in Sangli district


Pune:  Bapu Biru Vategaonkar, known for his "Robin Hood" image in the hinterland of Sangli district in western Maharashtra, today passed away following a brief illness.

The 96-year-old breathed his last at a hospital in Sangli district, family sources said.

Vategaonkar, who was once a dacoit and accused of killing over 10 persons, was underground for 23 years, before being arrested in 1983. He served time in various jails and was released in 2004.

"I am not repentant of killing more than 10 people in the past as I killed them because they were exploiting the poor and the common people were the victims of their atrocities," Vategaonkar had told this correspondent five years ago.

After his stint in jail, Vategaonkar had transformed into a saintly individual who conducted religious discourses, preached to the people on how to stay away from vices like alcohol and also encouraged them to stand up against injustice.

A resident of Borgaon village in the Valwa taluka, around 35 km from Sangli city, Vategaonkar was living the life of a hermit after serving time in various jails of the state.

"A lower-caste girl was murdered by some higher-caste men in our village in 1967. Her family came to me for help. I told them to go to the police, but the police did not take any action against the culprits," Vategaonkar had said, throwing light on how he portrayed the role of "Robin Hood".

A few days later, he took some friends along, killed the main accused in the case and went underground.

"I could not bear to see the injustice the family was facing and decided to kill the person behind the crime," he had said.

A 2007 Marathi film -- "Bapu Biru Vategaonkar" -- was made on his life. Well-known actor Milind Gunaji had played the role of Vategaonkar in it.

Last year, Vategaonkar had undergone a bilateral knee replacement surgery at a hospital near Pune.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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