A 35-year-old Dalit woman died and another was seriously injured allegedly in a violent attack by a group of men belonging to the dominant Jat community at Nangla Bhai village in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan on Saturday. The accused, named in the first information report, are yet to be arrested.
The dispute between the two sides started after a Jat boy riding a bicycle hit the eight-year-old daughter of Lajja Jatav at the street outside her house and injured her. When Lajja scolded the boy, he threatened to kill her and ran away.
After a while, a group comprising four Jat men armed with sharp-edged weapons and lathis arrived at the spot and allegedly attacked the Dalit family. Lajja and her relative Girraji Jatav, who sustained serious injuries in the assault, were rushed to the Government Hospital in Bharatpur.
Girraji succumbed to her injuries on Sunday morning, while Lajja was struggling for her life till the last reports came in. After initial reluctance, the police registered an FIR when the post-mortem report of Girraji confirmed that the sharp-edged weapons had caused her death.
A team of the Centre for Dalit Rights led by its Bharatpur district coordinator Yashpal Lahiri visited Nangla Bhai near Nadbai, situated 20 km from Kumher infamous for the Dalit massacre of 1992, on Sunday to find an atmosphere of terror prevailing in the village. The dominant Jats have reportedly threatened the minority Jatavs with dire consequences if they speak to outsiders.
The FIR has named Jitendra Singh, Shiv Singh, Kalheva and Dami – all residents of Nangla Bhai – as the main accused. CDR Director Satish Kumar said here that the accused wield political influence and the police were not likely to take action against them even though they were roaming around freely in the village.
The FIR has been registered at Nadbai police station under Sections 302 (murder), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 354 (assault to outrage a woman’s modesty) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of Indian Penal Code on the intervention of CDR. It also mentions the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, without specifying the sections.
Mr. Kumar demanded immediate arrest of the accused as well as urgent measures for security of the Dalit family victimised by the Jat community. He said the senior district officers should immediately visit Nangla Bhai village to restore confidence among Dalits and ensure arrest of the accused persons.
The district administration is yet to announce monetary compensation to the next of kin of the deceased as well as the injured woman, which is mandatory under the SC/ST (PoA) Act. Mr. Kumar said Lajja should be treated free of cost in the Government Hospital and Bharatpur declared an atrocity-prone area under the SC/ST Act.
Bharatpur district in eastern Rajasthan has witnessed caste violence at regular intervals during the past two decades. Over 30 Jatavs were burnt alive in broad daylight and 254 homes and hutments were set ablaze in the worst-ever carnage on June 6, 1992 at Kumher, not far from Nangla Bhai. Jats dominate social affairs in the region in the face of a blatant administrative apathy.