The Maharashtra Police have arrested two people for allegedly assaulting two Dalit boys in Jalgaon district because they were found swimming in a well, the state’s Social Justice Minister Dilip Kamble said on Thursday. The alleged incident took place on June 10, but the police action was initiated only after a video of it went viral on Thursday.
Three boys, who are in their early teens, had reportedly jumped into the well to cool off in the summer heat in Vakadi village. Villagers, many from the upper castes, allegedly caught two of them, stripped them and paraded them naked around the village, IANS reported. A video of the incident showed the boys covering themselves with leaves as two men rebuked and whipped them.
Union Social Justice Minister Ramdas Athawale condemned the incident, and demanded “stringent action against the perpetrators”.
State minister Chandrakant Patil said action would be taken under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. “Such incidents cannot be tolerated,” he said, according to The Indian Express.
The two arrested men were booked under the Prevention of Atrocities Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, The New Indian Express reported.
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani posted a video of the assault on Twitter and claimed it would not have happened had justice been given to victims of the Una assault. A group of Dalits was assaulted for skinning a dead cow near Una town, Gujarat, in July 2016.
Dalit boy beaten up for wearing ‘mojdi’ shoes
Meanwhile, in Gujarat, four Rajput men allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old Dalit boy for wearing a “mojdi”, a type of traditional footwear, the police said on Thursday. The incident took place in Mehsana district on Wednesday. The police have filed a case against four men, Bahucharaji police sub-inspector RR Solanki told PTI.
“When I was sitting near the bus stop, a group of youths came to me and asked me my caste,” the boy’s complaint said, according to PTI. “When I said that I am a Dalit, they asked me why I was wearing mojdi despite being a Dalit. When I tried to save myself by claiming that I am a Rajput, they forcibly took me to a place and thrashed me.”
One of the accused also shot and circulated a video of the assault.