Two Dalit brothers who were allegedly caught stealing money from a two-wheeler agency were violently assaulted by the showroom’s staff members in Nagaur district of Rajasthan, PTI reported.
The assault, which took place on Sunday, came to light after a video of the incident was widely circulated on social media. In the video clip, a group of men are seen stripping and violently assaulting the two brothers.
Seven people have been arrested and seven others have been detained in connection with the case. The accused have been identified as Bhim Singh, Idaan Singh, Hanuman Singh, Raghuveer Singh, Chhail Singh, Chhatar Singh and Rehmatullah, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mukul Sharma told PTI.
The victims were identified as Panna Ram and Disha Ram. A first information report was filed on Wednesday after the two brothers approached the police. They said they had gone to the agency in Karnu village to get a motorcycle serviced when the staff accused them of stealing money and beat them up.
The incident took place at lunchtime when most of the staff members were absent, Panchaudi Station House Officer Rajpal Singh said, according to The Indian Express. “Panna Ram and Disha Ram, were allegedly trying to steal money from the cash register of the motorcycle agency,” he said. “Initially, both sides had reached a compromise and no complaint was lodged with us. But once the videos went viral, we received a complaint and lodged the First Information Report.”
“It was a mob mentality. During questioning they [the staff members] said that they were angry and went quite far in punishing the alleged thieves,” he added.
The accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for assault, wrongful confinement, and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Singh said.
Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal said the incident “shames humanity”. He said action will be taken against the accused.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said the assault was “horrific and sickening.” “I urge the state Government to take immediate action to bring the perpetrators of this shocking crime to justice,” he wrote on Twitter. The Congress’ Scheduled Caste team condemned the attack and asked party leader and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to investigate the case, Hindustan Times reported.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Malviya, however, pointed out that the Congress MP did not specifically ask Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to take action. “The chief minister is also the home minister and his name is Ashok Gehlot,” he tweeted. “Just in case you didn’t know who is responsible for the brutality against Dalits in the state...Ever since Congress formed govt in Rajasthan, crime against Dalits and women has shot up.”
BJP state president Satish Poonia also took a dig at Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress leader can work only by tweeting. “We have seen in the past how much people and his government listen to Rahul Gandhi’s words,” he told reporters. “If the Ashok Gehlot government becomes active after Rahul Gandhi’s tweets, the people of Rajasthan will get justice.”
Gehlot assured swift action in the case. “Nobody will be spared,” he tweeted. “The culprits will be punished according to the law and we will ensure that the victims get justice.”
Separately, on Wednesday, seven people, including three women, were arrested in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram district on charges of lynching a 24-year-old Dalit youth after he defecated by a village road. The attack occurred on Wednesday in a village dominated by Vanniyars, a powerful Other Backward Class community in north and north-western Tamil Nadu. The victim was identified as R Sakthivel from Karai village. He worked at a petrol pump. The accused were arrested on Friday after videos of the lynching were circulated in the area.