14-year-old dead for plucking gram leaves: anti-Dalit incidents in December It is very trivial issues that bind these incidences of anti-Dalit violence

05, Jan 2024 | CJP Team

The Dalit community is estimated to form 16.6 per cent of the population. However, the Dalit community is subjected to a great amount of social stigma and violence. The common thread binding these incidents where anti-Dalit violence takes place is very trivial issues from donning a moustache to, as we will see below, plucking leaves. 

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported atrocities and crimes against Scheduled Castes witnessed a 1.2% increase in 2021, totalling 50,900 cases, as compared to 50,291 in 2020. Uttar Pradesh emerged with the larger numbers of reported crimes, reporting the highest number of cases at 13,146, constituting 25.82% of the total incidents. Bihar reveals a significant 11.4% share, amounting to 5,842 cases, while other states like Rajasthan form about 14.7%, Madhya Pradesh 14.1% of the total crimes. What is worse is that combined cases from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alone account for 37.22% of all reported atrocities against the community. 

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However, according to the Human Rights Watch, these alarming figures according to reports only scratch the surface, as it has been reported that Dalits are often apprehensive to report crimes, due to reported lack of police support. This suggests that the true extent of abuses against them is likely far higher. 

Jehanabad, Bihar

In Jehanabad district in Bihar, a Dalit youth named Akash Kumar was prevented from going in a local temple. The matter escalated when Kumar voiced his protest, resulting in an alleged physical assault against him. The aggrieved party has lodged an FIR against two people, one of who is a member of the temple committee, namely Dayanand Keshari and his son.

According to The Mooknayak, the FIR has revealed that the duo not only prevented him from entering the temple but also subjected him to physical violence and employed derogatory caste-based language. The local law enforcement authorities have duly commenced an investigation into the case to ascertain the veracity of the claims.

While narrating the sequence of events, Akash Kumar stated that the incident transpired on a Friday, implicating Dayanand Keshari and his son in the purported assault. Subsequently, in response to Kumar’s FIR, law enforcement officials, led by Thana Adhyaksh Ajit Kumar, acknowledged the initiation of a comprehensive inquiry into the matter.

On the hand, the accused vehemently reject the allegations, dismissing them as baseless and fuelled by personal animosity. Dayanand Keshari, when confronted with the accusations, offered an alternative perspective, asserting that on the day of the incident, a group of youth, allegedly under the influence of intoxicants, were occupying the temple premises. Keshari claimed to have urged them to respect the sanctity of the temple, leading to heightened tensions and ultimately another individual to file a case against him.

Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

A harrowing incident unfolded in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain where three Dalit women were brutally assaulted by members of the Gurjar community. Shedding light on the episode, a police official revealed that the horrifying attack took place in a field, where the women were subjected to violence by people from the Gurjar community, the Jagaran has reported

The shocking episode had garnered widespread attention after the video capturing the assault went viral on social media platforms. The victims have lodged a formal complaint at the local police station.

Bhim Singh Parihar, the officer in charge of the Makdon police station, has stated that the issue took place when goats owned by Gurjar community members encroached upon another person’s field. This led to an argument between the two parties which quickly turned into the assault. 

The video that went viral shows three-four men ruthlessly wielding sticks against the women. The accused in the video have been Identified as Jagdish Gurjar, Ajay Gurjar, Hukum Singh Gurjar, and Badrilal Gurjar. A case has been registered against the accused under the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Authorities have confirmed that all the accused are currently at large. The police have stated that the victims have been taken to the district hospital for swift medical treatment and their condition is stable. 

Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Two Dalit prisoners at Sultanpur District Jail in Uttar Pradesh were found dead, hanged by bedsheets in their cells, according to The Mooknayak. The bodies of two Dalit prisoners, Kariya alias Vijay Pasi and Manoj Raidas, were recovered from the prison. They were accused in the murder of poultry farm owner Om Prakash Yadav and were discovered hanging in their barrack on June 21. The case was initially considered a case of suicide but recent magisterial investigation has revealed foul play. The jail officials had claimed that depression had led to suicides. However, contrary to jail officials’ claims of depression-induced suicides, the post-mortem report raised alarming questions. After investigating statements from the medical panel, the investigating officer has discovered that both prisoners had died of poison before June 21. The investigation further reveals that two had not had food for about 12 hours before their death.

The Mooknayak further reports that fellow inmates failed to corroborate the jail administrations’ narrative of suicide. The inmates stated that the victims were in good spirits and had engaged in normal, jovial conversation. Further investigation has revealed that the two had not had any bedsheet either, and raised the question how did they come upon the bedsheet with which they were found hanged. 

Former IPS and National President of Adhikar Sena, Amitabh Thakur, has called for immediate FIRs against implicated officers. He has asked for a CID-CB investigation for the case to ensure accountability and fair investigation.

Bilgram, Uttar Pradesh

According to reports, a 42-year-old Dalit man was hacked to death in the Bilgram area of Hardoi district, Uttar Pradesh. The assailant, identified as Guddu Rathore, allegedly hacked Saligram to death with a sharp-edged weapon. Locals state that the accused reportedly fled the spot the minute the incident took place. Police has detailed that the motivation for murder was a minor dispute between the two. The family has alleged it was because Guddu’s cattle strayed in Salgram’s area, however the matter had been reportedly sorted and resolved with intervention by locals. The police have initiated a case after the family lodged a complaint. The body has been sent for post mortem examination. 

Kaimur, Bihar

Two young Dalit girls were beaten for plucking leaves from a farmer’s plant; one of them, Sundari Kumar from class 8 died of her injuries, according to the Deccan Herald. The gruesome episode has ignited tension in the area. The incident occurred in Hata village which falls under the Chainpur police station limits.

The victim Sundari was a 14-year-old Class 8 student who was with her cousin when she reportedly tried to pluck some gram leaves from a neighbouring farm. The farm’s owner Ramadhar Yadav, and his son Gaurav reportedly caught the girls following which the girls were beaten mercilessly with bamboo sticks. The police are currently searching for the four absconding individuals involved. A case has been registered against them.

Local CPI-ML leader Vijay Singh Yadav visited the grieving family and talked about the urgent need to arrest the culprits and also demanded a compensation of Rs 20 lakh for the victim’s family.

Image: Representation Image | PTI/Files


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