The Uttar Pradesh Police have filed a First Information Report against six people, including two village heads, for allegedly denying drinking water to a deputy chief veterinary officer because of her Dalit identity, PTI reported on Thursday. The complaint has been registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The incident took place on July 31 when Seema had gone to Ambawa Poorab village in Manjhanpur block of Kuashambi district, around 167 km from the state capital of Lucknow, to review developmental projects. She alleged that she was not given water for two-and-a-half-hours.
“I was told to visit the village only after contacting DPRO [District Panchayat Raj Officer] Ravidutt Mishra and Block Development Chief Jhallar Tiwari,” she told PTI. “They behaved very abnormally with me, and when I asked for water, I was not given water for two-and-a-half-hours by six people sitting there. I am a diabetic. My arms and limbs started trembling and I had to rush out from there. I was also told that the bottle would get spoiled [if I drink water from it] and had to be thrown away.”
Seema added that village head Shiv Sampat and DPRO Mishra also asked the villagers not to serve water to her. “If something like this can happen to a government official one can easily imagine about the common Dalits,” she told Deccan Herald.
Kaushambi Superintendent of Police Pradeep Gupta said the matter was being probed thoroughly. He added that strict action will be taken against those found guilty.
The Opposition criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government over the rising incidents of Dalit atrocities.
The Congress demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident. “Incidents of Dalit atrocities are continuously rising in the BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh,” said state party spokesperson Ashok Singh. “Dalit officials are being threatened and insulted. We have been raising this issue continuously and will continue to do so…The government must conduct a high-level probe and take immediate action against the guilty. This is a question of the respect and honour of a section of society.”
The Samajwadi Party accused the BJP of “not believing in the Constitution”. “The slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’ is perhaps the biggest lie, as they [BJP] look down upon the Dalits and backward castes,” said party spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan.