A Dalit woman was allegedly beaten up by members of upper caste for drawing potable water from a government-dug deep tube well in their area at a village in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, police said on Wednesday.
The woman faced the wrath of upper caste groups in Pikirali village, about 25 Km from here, on Monday as lower caste groups are not allowed to draw water from these wells, they said.
About 10 dalit families of the village were depending on one tube well in their locality. But since last month, the sole tube well in Dalit Sahi was defunct and scheduled caste persons were forced to subsist on polluted water of a pond.
Driven by compulsion, a Dalit woman Kalpana Sethi (25) decided to fetch water from a tube well in front of the house of an upper caste person, Bhamara Jena, for which some upper caste persons assaulted her and took away her bucket, police said.
The woman on Tuesday filed an FIR against Bhamara, Umakanta Jena and Kishor Jena (all belonging to the upper caste) in the local police station and alleged that they hurled abusive language and assaulted her for drawing water from the village tube well.
The woman also alleged that some influential upper caste persons have been preventing the Dalits, including women and children, to take water from the village tube well.
Earlier also, upper caste members abused some dalits for using the tube well to draw water but the frightened people did not lodge any FIR against them, Ms. Sethi claimed.
“Acting on the FIR lodged by the complainant, cases under sections 354, 294, 341, 506 of IPC and section 3 of SC and ST (atrocity prevention) Act has been registered against persons named in the FIR. The matter is being investigated,” said Kendrapara Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Nrusingh Charana Swain.