22-year-old battling for life as doctors amputated both his legs that were run over by a train

Around the time that Tika Ram was supposed to take his B.Ed. exam at Delhi University on Thursday afternoon, he lay on an operation theatre table at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences here battling for life as doctors amputated both his legs.

The 22-year-old Dalit boy from Ramgarh in western Uttar Pradesh was brutally beaten up by members of the dominant Gujjar community and tied to the railway tracks. Though he struggled to free himself, Ram suffered grievous injuries as a train ran over his legs.

According to Ram’s father Sheeshpal, who is waiting for his son to come out of the state of unconsciousness, doctors at AIIMS are not very positive about his survival because of the excessive bleeding after his legs were crushed.

The police at the Dadri police station, which initially was not taking any action, registered a case of attempt to murder against four people that Tika Ram had named after activists belonging to the All-India Students’ Association and All-India Progressive Women’s Association protested. Those who have been named in the FIR include Kaalu Bhati, brother of the village pradhan Kuldeep Bhati, who belongs to the Gujjar community.

Activists said the attack on Tika Ram was directly related to a dispute over 4.75 bighas of panchayat land allocated to the 60 Jatav families by the State Government. The land has been allegedly occupied by the gram pradhan, Kuldeep Bhati. The Constitution mandates the allocation of a fixed share of panchayat land in every village to Dalit families so that they can build houses or cattle sheds on them. The Government had even issued pattas (title deeds) for the land in 1982. But the Gujjars, who are financially stronger, built a seven-foot-high wall around the land last December, restricting the movement of the Jatavs in their own land.

Sandeep Singh, the national president of AISA, who is a part of the civil society protest against the encroachment on the land by the Gujjars, said the attack on Tika Ram was part of a series of retaliatory attacks on Dalit youths who have been at the forefront of the protest against the land encroachment.

“On March 14, Gujjars went to the Dalit colony on the margins of the village armed with sticks, country-made pistols and axes, and beat up its residents in broad daylight, severely injuring many. During the rampage, which lasted more than three hours, the Gujjars did not spare even women and children. The police did not arrive in time despite several phone calls to them. Gujjars want to suppress all kind of voice of protest against their oppression on the Dalits in the village and the attack on Tika Ram was aimed at that,” added the AISA leader.

Mr. Singh alleged that in order to deflect attention from the ongoing protest against land encroachment, the Gujjars have falsely named Tika Ram in a case of attempt to murder which is related to an incident of firing on a girl belonging to the Gujjar community few days ago.

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