Two Dalit men were allegedly assaulted with rods and sticks and abused with casteist slurs by six upper-caste men in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore district, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The alleged attack, which happened on June 12, took place after the Dalit men opposed the dumping of waste in front of their house.
A first information report has been registered against the six men at the Jawar police station. They have been booked under sections 294 (using obscene acts and songs), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, along with Section, 3(1), 3(2) of the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. However, no arrests have been made yet.
An argument broke out on June 12, when the accused, identified as Narayan Singh Sendhav, Rajendra Singh and Vijendra Singh, came to Harinath Singh’s house. The accused objected to the bricks kept in front of Singh’s house, where the upper-caste men usually dumped cow dung.
During the argument, one of the accused used a casteist slur against Singh’s son Sobhalsingh Solanki. When he objected to it, accused Narayan Singh hit Harinath Singh with rods while Rajendra Singh attacked Sobhalsingh Solanki. The other three accused – Bhairusingh Sendhav, Lokendra Sendhav and Manohar Sendhav – beat up the Dalit men’s family members when two of them tried to help the father and son.
“While leaving, they threatened to kill us if we failed to remove the bricks from the spot of the garbage dumping,” Sobhandsingh Solanki said in his complaint to the police.
After the attack, Harinath Singh and his son Sobhalsingh Solanki were admitted to a district hospital with head injuries. Sobhalsingh Solanki told The Indian Express that his father has suffered severe injuries and a leg fracture. “When we left for the hospital, they threw away our vessels and disconnected our power supply,” Vijaysingh Solanki told the newspaper.
Madan Evenes, the town inspector of Jawar police station, said the argument broke out over a compost pit near Sobhansingh Solanki’s house on government land. “People would throw cow dung into it and that became a bone of contention between the two,” he added. “There are complaints made by both sides, and the case is being investigated.”
Sobhalsingh Solanki accused the police of inaction and alleged that they did not mention in the FIR the fact that the upper-caste men set their house on fire and assaulted women family members.
“When we went to register the FIR at the SC/ST police station after the incident, the town inspector abused and chased us away,” Solanki told NewsClick. “Later we went to Jawar police station, which was the nearest one, and registered the FIR only after members of Dalit community pressured them.”
Bhim Army member Sunil Asthe also corroborated the allegations of police laxity. “To water down the case, the police has not mentioned that their house was burnt down,” he alleged. “Instead, attempt to murder has been invoked. The family was also given medical treatment after intervention by us.”