Lucknow: In a shocking incident in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, a teenage dalit boy and girl were shamed publicly by some fellow villagers who blackened their faces and paraded them in the village over an alleged ‘affair’. Around 15 people have been arrested, police said.
The village mob also tonsured the couple and forced them to wear a garland of footwear around their necks, police added.
The horrific incident took place on Wednesday in Singhi village under Gaur police jurisdiction of the district, according to the police. The couple was also reportedly thrashed with shoes by some villagers.
The atrocities meted out to the couple was the “punishment” decided upon by the village panchayat for the ‘crime’ of marrying each other despite being teenaged. No one in the village objected to the panchayat decision, claimed a villager.
After purported video of the incident went viral on social media on Tuesday, local police swung into action after which 15 people were arrested.
Taking cognisance of the video, Superintendent of Police (SP), Basti, said a First Information Report (FIR) had been registered against 15 people under relevant Sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act on a complaint by the boy’s mother.
“Police officials are investigating the case and those involved in the act will be punished soon,” the SP said, adding that both the boy and girl belong to the same community.
Meanwhile, police said security had been provided to the families of the boy and the girl and police personnel had been deployed in the village to prevent any flare-up.
According to some villagers, the couple resided in the same locality and were in love for some time. They wanted to get married and there was no objection by their family members. But some “anti-social elements” opposed their relationship. When the boy came to meet the girl, a village ‘dabang’ (strongman) caught hold of them and locked up in a room. Later, the couple were accosted and brought before a village panchayat, which pronounced that they be paraded in the village and publicly shamed.
A family member alleged that a ‘khap-like’ order was issued by the panchayat to “teach the couple a lesson” as they were in relationship in spite of being “minors”. The family members said they didn’t have any option but to remain mute spectators when the incident took place.
Last September, too, a man a woman were made to wear a garland of shoes and paraded in a village over an alleged affair. The incident took place under the limits of Hata police station area of Kushinagar district. Twelve people had been arrested back then.
DALIT LABOURER BEATEN TO DEATH
In another case of atrocities against dalits, a migrant labourer belonging to the community was allegedly beaten to death by upper caste people in Gahoba village of Rura police station,Kanpur Dehat, last Saturday night, a week after he got a case registered against four persons for allegedly molesting his wife.
The Kanpur Dehat police said a group of around a dozen people, including a former village head, allegedly attacked the dalit man with sticks when he stepped out from his house at night. He died on the way to the hospital, police said.
According to sources in the village, the dead man, Munesh, a resident of Gahoba village of Rura police station, had a dispute with some “powerful” people. His family alleged that since the past two-three years, the accused upper caste people would pass caste slurs on him and against his community. They even assaulted Munesh multiple times.
“For the last couple of years, a group of 10 to 13 people from the powerful upper caste community living in the same village used to harass us and often used to create unnecessary controversies, which was opposed by my son. We complained to the police but were not heard out. Munesh was also made to bow down in front of the ‘dabangs’,” the deceased’s father said, adding that had the police acted at the right time, his son would have been alive today. “Had my son even been given proper treatment when he was beaten by them, he could have been saved,” he added.
Frequent cases of atrocities against dalit and minorities in the state have once again put a big question mark over Yogi Adityanath government’s claims of improvement in law and order in the state.
Commenting over cases of such atrocities, professor Sushil Gautam said when it comes to atrocities on dalits, efforts are made to dilute the seriousness of the violence and no stone is left unturned to shield the accused. It is a matter of grave concern that despite presence of constitutional and legislative safeguards, atrocities against dalit are increasing, he added.
Cases of atrocities against dalit and minorities in the state have once again put a big question mark over Yogi Adityanath government’s claims of improvement in law and order in the state.
As per the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau, there has been an increase in crime against dalits and adivasis in 2020. UP and Madhya Pradesh have reported maximum cases of crime against these both these communities.