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SC/ST Atrocities: Upper Caste men Rip off Scalp of Dalit Man in MP

Kashif Kakvi |
According to the NCRB report 2016, MP has witnessed a sharp rise of 49.9 per cent in crimes against SCs and 15.6 per cent rise in crimes against STs, from 2014 to 2016.
Sardar Singh Jatav

Bhopal/Shivpuri: The Union Government has been claiming of strengthening the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, by adding new clauses in it despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, and yet, the atrocities against Dalits continue unabated in Madhya Pradesh, as these changes do not seem to have made any impact on the upper castes. 

In a brutal incident reported in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district, members of the upper caste community allegedly ripped off the scalp of a 50-year-old dalit man with a sharp-edged weapon on the night of September 3, 2018, the police said.

The victim has been identified as Sardar Singh Jatav, a resident of Mahoba village, which falls under the Narwar police station of Shivpuri district. He is a farmer and belongs to the Schedule Caste community. He has three sons and a daughter. Jatav is currently admitted in Gwalior’s private hospital and fighting for life owing to huge blood loss.

Ironically, the Shivpuri police have registered the case, but only after the intervention of the district’s Superintendent of Police (SP), when the victim’s family reached the police headquarters.

Later, the police booked three upper caste men, Hotam Gurjar, Omprakash Gurjar and Jagdish Gurjar, who belong to the ‘Gurjar community’ under section 307 (Attempt to Murder), 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

However, even after a week of the incident, the police have failed to make any progress in the case and no arrests have been made yet.

“Jatav was attacked by upper caste men on the night of September 3. They ripped off his skull and assaulted him which led to some major injuries. A case has been registered against three men under the relevant sections of IPC and Atrocities act,” said Shivpuri SP Rajesh Hingankar.

Even though the victim’s kin had claimed that seven people were involved in the incident, the police have booked only three.
The matter came to light when Bahujan Samaj Party’s Shivpuri president Dayashankar Gautam submitted a memorandum to the district SP demanding immediate arrest of the accused.

MP leading in violence against SC/ST

Madhya Pradesh has a history of dalit violence. According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report 2016, Madhya Pradesh leads the chart on crimes against SC/ST.

The state has witnessed a sharp rise of 49.9 per cent in crimes against SCs and 15.6 per cent rise in crimes against STs, from 2014 to 2016. 

The incident

As per Sardar Singh Jatav’s police statement, an hour after dusk on September 3, 2018, one of the accused came to his home and took him on a motorcycle.

They took him around 1.5 km away from the village to a desolate area, where the other accused had been waiting, armed. As he alighted from the bike, they started beating him with sticks which led to major fracture in hand and ribs.

Not stopping with that, they tied his hands and with the help of a sharp edged weapon, they allegedly ripped off his scalp and escaped from the spot by tying his mouth with a piece of cloth. However, the police has been refuting this theory.

“The accused ripped off his scalp with a stick not with a sharp-edged weapon,” SP Rajesh Hingankar said.

Hours after the incident, a passerby spotted and identified him. He informed the victim’s family members and rushed him to the Shivpuri town hospital where the doctor referred him to Gwalior.  

“Owing to huge blood loss, even after a week, his condition is critical and he is still fighting for life,” said his nephew Rajendra Jatav, who is a government primary school teacher.
Reason behind the attack

Both the victim’s kin and the police have proposed different theories behind the attack

Rajendra Jatav said, “Upper caste people are dominant in our region and atrocities against dalits are common here but this is extreme. They did so because they don’t like us.”

However, the police have a different theory. According to the Shivpuri SP, few months ago, Jatav’s elder son was involved in the kidnapping of a girl who belonged to the Gurjar community, however, he escaped unharmed at the time.

“A girl belonging to the Gurjar community was kidnapped by a Gurjar man few months ago and Jatav’s elder son was involved in it. Later, both parties reached at a compromise on the case. They may have taken revenge by assaulting his father,” said Rajesh Hingankar, adding that “The probe is on and soon we will make the arrest.”
Threat to the victim’s family

Since the matter has been reported to the police, Jatav’s family have been apprehensive of future attacks and are planning to leave the village.

His nephew Rajendra said, “Even though, seven people were involved in the incident, the police have registered the case only against three because the rest belong to affluent families.”

He further said, “My uncle has acres of land in the village, and yet, his sons are planning to leave the village as they have been receiving life threats. People of the Gurjar community are pressurising us to roll back or compromise on the case, or else they will slay the entire family.”

He further stated that “We have complained about the same to the local police but they didn’t take it seriously.”

Some recent incidents

In another incident in Shivpuri, a 45-year-old dalit watchman was allegedly lynched by 13 people on Monday over a land dispute in Mohaba village of the district, police said.

The deceased has been identified as Ramsewak Parihar, a resident of Khisloni village who worked as a watchman-cum-informer appointed by the police in the village. Prima Facie, it appears that he has been killed owing to a land dispute with a Yadav family.

“A Kotwar (watchman) was beaten to death by 13 people. The assailants belong to the Yadav community and they attacked the Kotwar when he was going to his home in Khisloni village,” said Ramraja Tiwari, in-charge of Bamorkala police station.

“A case has been registered against 13 people under the relevant sections of the IPC and we are making raids to nab the accused,” Tiwari added.

On August 20, a 23-year-old Dalit woman was killed on her way to college in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh. The man who killed her was allegedly putting pressure on her to withdraw the sexual harassment complaint filed against him.

On April 2, when Bharat Bandh was called by the Dalit groups against the Supreme Court’s March 20 verdict, eight people, all belonging to the Dalit community were killed by the alleged upper caste mob in the state. Three were killed in Gwalior district. Later, the police filed 20 cases and arrested 65 people.

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