Sunday February 25, 2024

Indian police torture Dalit boy to death over pigeon theft

Dalit student attacked in Karnataka over writing against caste system; writers hold march against growing intolerance in India

By our correspondents
October 24, 2015
NEW DELHI: A 14-year old Indian Dalit boy was found dead with wounds all over his body hours after he was taken away by the police in Haryana which is battling anger after two young siblings of a Dalit or underprivileged family were burnt alive in their home on Monday.
The boy’s family sat with his body on a road near their village in Gohana in Sonepat district for hours in protest before finally agreeing to cremate him a news channel reported, Indian media reported on Friday.
Govind was found hanging near his house. His family alleges that he was charged with the theft of a pigeon by local people and then beaten brutally by the police because he is a Dalit.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who is under fire for the killing of the two children has backed the police claim that the boy had committed suicide. He has promised a government job to the family as compensation.
But Govind’s family has demanded Rs1 million and action against two policemen who have been charged with beating the boy.
The police questioned the boy on Wednesday. When his mother went to get him the policemen asked for money. She alleges that when she came with the money she was told that he had escaped.
“My son went to the police station himself nothing was proved against him. The policemen asked for Rs5,000 from my son. He agreed but then they made a demand of Rs10,000,” Govind’s mother said.
His brother wondered how someone could run away from custody. “What is the point of the police being there. They took our money and killed him.”
On Monday, a toddler and his 11 month old sister died after their house was set on fire by members of an upper caste community in a village in Faridabad.
The incidents have taken a political turn with political parties accusing Haryana’s ruling BJP of not protecting Dalits.
Dalits are being discriminated against. “It is clear what kind of government is in power. The BJP is against Dalits,” said former

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati.
Meanwhile, nearly 100 writers took out a peaceful march in New Delhi on Friday to protest against increasing intolerance in the country, says an Indian media report.
Writers from across India gathered at Shri Ram Centre near Mandi House and marched towards Sahitya Akademi in the capital, wearing black ribbons on their heads as a sign of protest.
The writers said that the protest was to express their anger against the government for letting anti-social incidents happen and also to attract attention of the academy towards the increasing attacks on litterateurs.
“Freedom of expression and speech is currently being suppressed in the country. Whatever is happening in the country nowadays, people belonging to minorities and schedule caste feel insecure,” a writer said in the protest.
“The government must take some concrete steps to stop such incidents which shatter nation’s secular fabric. Sahitya Akademi should also pressurise the government and pass some resolution against increasing attacks on the writers,” the protester added.
Earlier this month several writers had returned their awards to register their protest against increasing intolerance in India. Another incident of attack on Dalits has been reported from Karnataka, where a journalism student was attacked for his writings against the caste system.
According to the Indian media, an unidentified person told the student, Huchangi Prasad, that his mother was in the hospital after suffering a heart attack. Prasad reportedly went with the man believing this to be true, but was later attacked by eight to 10 men.
The Hindu quoted Prasad as saying that the group pushed him around and smeared kumkum all over his face. “They pulled out a knife and said they will cut my fingers off so I can never write again,” he was quoted as saying. According to the report, Prasad has been facing threats since the launch of his first book, which had writings about the treatment of Dalits in the country.