Dalits targeted by upper castes during Buddha Katha gathering in Kanpur 15-20 upper caste men attack sleeping Dalit attendees at event, allegedly gunshots reported

20, Dec 2023 | CJP Team

On December 18, the Pehowa village of Kanpur witnessed violence against its Dalit member when they were assaulted by upper caste men during a Buddha Katha event. Post the incident, five people have been arrested in relation to the attack, according to Indian Express. The attackers had reportedly targeted the victims who were fast asleep at the venue of the Buddha Katha and even reportedly desecrated a statue of Saint Ravidas.

Police officials have revealed that the incident occurred on the fourth day of a nine-day Buddha Katha programme which was organised by the local residents. The complaint reveals that about 15 to 20 people arrived in several cars at the event from the upper caste community and started beating them up using rods, sticks, and even firing four rounds of bullets.

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Local residents have further alleged that the Dalit community had earlier too received threats from members of the upper caste which warned them not to organise the Buddha Katha events. Furthermore, apart from the physical assault, the assailants reportedly stole money, electronic items, cash, and even a copy of the Indian constitution.

The complaint, lodged by local resident Ram Sagar at the Saadh police station, detailed the horrifying incident, stating, “Around 2 am on December 19, some anti-social elements attacked people sleeping in the pandal. They also opened fire using a rifle and injured Pintu, Nitin, Pankaj…The culprits broke a statue of Sant Ravidas.”

According to the police, a case has been registered against sixteen people under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The charges filed against the accused include rioting, assault, defiling a place of worship or sacred object, outraging religious feelings, and offences under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The identified perpetrators are Chandra Bhan Mishra, Golu Mishra, Shivam Mishra, Jeetu Mishra, Arun Kotedar, Kinnar Mishra, Vishambhar Mishra, and Manish Tewari.

Kanpur Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Anand Prakash Tiwari, addressing the incident, stated that the injured people are receiving treatment and their physical condition is stable. The police has stated that they have deployed additional police personnel, which includes senior officers, to prevent further violence in the village. In addition to that, the police has also stated that they have put up a statue in place of the one that was broken.

Tiwari went on to mention that five arrests have been made in connection with the case. “Senior officers, including me, reached the spot. We have made arrangements for better security, and we will keep vigil round the clock. We are also checking if the incident was part of a conspiracy to disturb the law and order situation in the village.”


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