Rajasthan: Brutal Assault on Dalit Brothers Suspected of ‘Stealing Money’ Sparks Outrage
New Delhi: Two dalits brothers were brutally flogged in Panchaudi area in Rajasthan's Nagaur district for allegedly stealing money from a two-wheeler agency, sparking widespread outrage.
The incident came to light when a video went viral on social media showing two men allegedly belonging to the two-wheeler agency not only thrashing the two brothers but also violating them. The purported video shows a screwdriver being inserted into one of the victim’s private parts.
Local reports suggest that the duo went to the station to service a motorcycle when a staffer alleged that they had stolen money from the cash counter. Reportedly, the two boys were taken to the backyard of the station where they were stripped and beaten up brutally.
Confirming such an incident, Panchodi SHO Rajpal Singh told NewsClick: "The police has registered a First Information Report under the relevant sections for assault and Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act." He said five persons had been arrested whereas the two key accused were at large.
According to reports, the victim's family said the two boys had gone to service their two-wheeler when they were assaulted. They alleged the family was threatened with dire consequences by the accused men. In his complaint, one of the boys alleged that they were beaten ruthlessly by machine belts. Later, the other accused poured petrol in his private parts by inserting a screwdriver, he alleged.
Responding to the horrific incident, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said he had directed the police officials to take stringent action. "In the horrific incident in Nagaur, immediate and effective action has been taken and seven accused have been arrested so far. Nobody will be spared. The culprits will be punished according to the law and we will ensure that the victims get justice."
The incident incited widespread criticism from politicians and activists. Congress President Rahul Gandhi said ,"The recent video of two young Dalit men being brutally tortured in Nagaur, Rajasthan is horrific & sickening. I urge the state Government to take immediate action to bring the perpetrators of this shocking crime to justice."
Commenting on the incident, Amra Ram, leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the incident showed the casteist mentality of the alleged perpetrators, accusing them of “not only undertaking the horrific act but also filming it and making it viral on social media”
The CPI(M) leader also flayed the Ashok Gehlot government for not taking effective action against caste discrimination. “Ashok Gehlot has no moral authority to tweet about the prompt action. He belongs to Jodhpur region. Still, we find that schools there have two different pots of drinking water for teachers, one for upper castes, other for dalits."
Atrocities against dalits common in Rajatshan
The flogging of the boys is not the first instance when dalits have been subject to large-scale social exclusion and discrimination amid their growing assertion for self-respect and dignity. In another recent incident, Uday Lal, belonging to Dalit Regar community, was forced off his horse during a wedding ceremony in Bhilwara. The family responded by registering a case against the accused and got 12 men arrested.
However, the family had to pay a heavy price for raising their voice. The people belonging to the dominant Gujjar caste reportedly stopped the supply of drinking water to the victim families. When they called for drinking water through tankers, the drivers alleged that they were threatened by Gujjars.
Atrocities against dalits in Rajasthan is quite common, for which the state has always been in the news. Prominent cases are that of the rape cases of a dalit women Bhanwari Devi in 1992, and Delta Meghwal in 2016 by upper caste men.
In fact, the Bhanwari Devi rape case led to the Supreme Court coming out with guidelines on dealing sexual harassment at the workplace.
Delta, a 17-year-old student of veterinary sciences, was found dead in water tank at her institute in Rajasthan's Bikaner in March 2016. Prior to her death, she had complained to her father that she was raped by her physical training teacher. Under much pressure from dalit and civil society groups, the Rajasthan government ordered an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), but the probe appears to be stuck even after four years of crime. The father of the girl, frightened by the incident, discontinued the studies of two other children.
Statistics by the National Crime Records Bureau show that Rajasthan remains among the top five states where cases of atrocities against dalits are high. The reports states the police registered 4,238 and 4,607 cases of dalit atrocities in Rajasthan, in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
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