A Dalit man was allegedly made to rub his nose in his own spit after he refused to donate more money for installing a statue of a deity in a temple in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, the police said on Wednesday, reported the Hindustan Times.
The incident took place last week after Tikhiri village head Chameli Ojha went to the home of the Dalit man, identified as Gurucharan Mallick, to collect donation for the temple. The police stated that when Mallick said he had already contributed, the village head allegedly abused him and his wife, Rekha.
In a police complaint, Rekha alleged that at a meeting, the village head had initially decided to boycott her family. However, Ojha, along with other villagers, later forced Mallick to rub his nose in his own spit, she alleged.
“He [Mallick] had to do what the village committee ordered him to do,” Rekha said. Ojha, however, has denied the allegations.
Marshaghai police station Inspector in-charge PK Kanungo said a case against Ojha and other villagers has been filed under under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, reported India Today. Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insults with intention that it will likely break public peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code have also been invoked against the accused persons.
“We have recorded statements of around 60 villagers,” Kanungo said. “Further investigation is underway.”
He added that no arrests have been made yet.