Bhopal: Two days after the bodies of four dalits and a tribal of a family, including three minors, were found from a farm land in Madhya Pradesh’s Nemawar village of Dewas district, the Congress has demanded that the state government should hand over investigation to Central Bureau Investigation (CBI).
In a letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh Congress President and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath termed the incident as “inhuman and barbaric” and raised questions on the working of the local police. He wanted to know why no action had been taken against the suspects despite repeated complaints even after 47 days of a missing report being filed at the Nemawar police station. “It raises serious doubt on the working of the local police which protected the accused under the pressure of local politicians,” the letter said.
On June 29, police discovered nude and half decomposed bodies of five persons, including three minors, buried nearly eight-feet deep in a farm land in Nemawar locality of Dewas. The deceased were identified as Mamta (45), Rupali (21), Divya (14) Puja (15) and Pawan (14). Mamta belonged to the Scheduled Tribe community while the others belonged to the Schedule Caste community, said Suryakant Sharma, additional Superintendent of Police, Dewas.
All the five were reported missing from May 13 and a report had been registered at Nemawar police station on May 17 by the lone survivor of the family, Bharti (23), the eldest sister of Deepali, who was living in Pitampura locality of Dhar district.
According to the Dewas police, Deepali and Surendra Chauhan were in a relationship. But, when Surendra decided to marry someone from his own caste, Deepali opposed it. To resolve the issue, Chauhan allegedly called Deepali to his farm land and attacked her with an iron rod after a heated argument. Later, Chauhan called the rest of the family members to his farm land, alleging that she tried to commit suicide. He allegedly attacked the family members with iron rods and even strangulated them to death.
Seven persons, including two brothers who own the farm and were the alleged masterminds in the case, have been arrested for the crime. They were booked under relevant Sections of the ST/ST Atrocities Act and under Sections 302, 201, 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal code, said Shiv Dayal, SP, Dewas.
Incidentally, days before the matter came to light, the accused, who were also associated with a Hindu right-wing group, called Hindu Jagran Manch, had given a written complaint to Nemawar police station against a local TV journalist who was chasing the matter, alleging “defamation of Hindus and Hinduism” in his Facebook post.
A day after the incident, a delegation of Congress leaders -- Sajjan Singh Verma, former Minister and Vikrant Bhuria, President Youth Congress -- visited the village and met the family members of the deceased, and alleged that the accused had political connections with leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Speaking on the issue on Thursday, Chief Minister Chouhan said the incident of Nemawar had shaken him to the core and he had instructed the police officials concerned to take stern action against the accused. “The incident has saddened me and I have ordered strict action against the accused. Their cases will be run in fast track court,” he said in Bhopal.
He also announced that Rs 41.25 lakh would be given to the family as per the provisions of SC/ST Atrocities Act-1989.
The incident has created an uproar among the tribal and dalit communities who held a massive protest in Dewas demanding strict action against the accused.
The killings came to light after the police received a tip-off that a person who works at the farm land had some leads about the missing persons.
Summoned to the police station, the man offered details about the farm owner’s grandsons, Surendra Singh Chauhan and his younger brother Bhuru Chauhan. Subsequently, both the suspects were detained and brought to the police station. Upon investigation, they reportedly confessed to have committed the five murders and burying the bodies in the farm in an almost 10-foot-deep pit.
When police reached the farm on Tuesday, they recovered the half decomposed bodies with the help of a JCB machine and municipal workers and sent them for forensic tests.