The National Human Rights Commission has asked the Tamil Nadu government to submit a report within four weeks on the alleged thrashing of a Dalit boy for fetching water from a public tap.

It has also asked the government what steps are being taken to prevent “such acts of discrimination against Dalits”.

The NHRC said it has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report alleging that the boy, A Vasantha Kumar, was not only stopped from taking water from a tap located at Karikkilipalayam by three women of another community but was also abused by “caste names”.

“When he protested, the three women and one P Damodaran Chettiyar beat him up. He had to be admitted in Annur hospital, which is about 25 km away from Coimbatore. It was also reported that the village where the victim resides is reeling under extreme water scarcity,” the Commission said citing the media report.

According to the report, Dalits are prevented from cutting hair at saloons in the locality and from using mobile phones outside their huts in the area, it noted.

Considering the matter, the Commission observed that if the contents of the report are true, then these raise a serious issue of violation of human rights as well as provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. It issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu, calling for a report in the matter to the Commission within four weeks.

The Chief Secretary has also been asked to inform the commission whether any criminal case has been registered against the accused and whether any relief has been given to the victim.