Lucknow: Plucking leaves from a mango tree seems to have cost a 26-year-old dalit youth his life in Uttar Pradesh's Fatehpur district, the parliamentary constituency of Union Cabinet Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, on Wednesday evening. The youth, thrashed for plucking mango leaves, allegedly killed himself as he was depressed, his family said..
According to the Fatehpur police, the incident occurred in Aasta village under the Malwan police station limits, 30 km away from the district headquarter. The deceased, Dharampal Diwakar, a farm labourer, was reportedly feeling acutely humiliated and depressed after being beaten up by a group of people for allegedly plucking leaves from a mango tree.
After the incident, Dharampal reached his house and allegedly hanged himself to death in his locked room. "A First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against three people for abetment of suicide based on a complaint from the family of the deceased. Three persons have been arrested and investigation is underway," Sher Singh Rajput, Station House Officer, Malwan, said, adding that the body had been sent for post-mortem.
As per reports, the police arrested and identified Noor Mohammad and Salman in relation with the case, and are trying to trace Mohammad's brother, Ashiq Ali, for questioning with regard to the alleged suicide.
Following the incident, there is simmering anger within the dalit community.
The mother of the deceased youth has alleged that her son was beaten up by some people over plucking leaves from a mango tree while he was out grazing his goats in the village. She also alleged that the police refused to file an FIR initially.
“We approached the police when my son was beaten up on the spot but they did not take cognizance. Following that my son was depressed and took this extreme step," Kalawati, the mother of the victim told NewsClick.
The family members of the deceased, including a woman and children, have been living under the open sky for the past few days outside the police headquarters. They are demanding justice for Dharampal Diwakar. “We are poor people and labourers, and if we do not feel secure and get justice, nobody will get justice in this country,” the victim’s father said.
The incident comes at a time when the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government is already under fire for cases of atrocities against dalits.
This is not the first time dalits have allegedly come under attack in Uttar Pradesh. In October 2020, A 25-year-old man, who used to work as labourer at a bangle-manufacturing unit in Firozabad died by suicide after allegedly being tortured by the UP police in custody.
Read Also: UP: Dalit Man Dies by Suicide after Alleged Police Torture and Extortion
Reacting on the recent incident, Satish Prakash, a dalit thinker, said: "Uttar Pradesh has always remained an epicentre of atrocities against dalits and marginalised communities. Most importantly, the atrocities against dalit women in the state of UP have given repeated signals to the Indian state and the civil society to wake up from their slumbers. But unfortunately, only a handful of people could understand the barbarity of this crime," Prakash said.