National

BJP, Congress exchange barbs over death of Dalit youth set ablaze by neighbours

Govt. trying to protect accused, alleges Shivraj Singh Chouhan

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress exchanged barbs on Thursday over the death of a Dalit youth undergoing treatment for burn injuries in New Delhi, after neighbours set him ablaze in Sagar following a dispute on January 14.

While the BJP alleged the government’s negligence had caused the death and it was followed by the police’s complacency, the Congress claimed the BJP was spreading lies.

“We are awaiting the post-mortem report to ascertain the cause of death. After sustaining burn injuries, he was having breathing issues here itself,” Amit Sanghi, Superintendent of Police, told The Hindu.

Dhanprasad Ahirwar, 24, of the Motinagar area in Sagar, suffered 70% burn injuries and underwent treatment locally for three days until January 17, when he was shifted to Bhopal, and later airlifted to New Delhi. He died on Thursday morning.

‘Petty dispute’

“It was a petty dispute between neighbours, and both the parties filed police complaints on January 12,” said Mr. Sanghi. “There is no Hindu-Muslim or caste conflict angle to the case.”

Three accused were arrested on January 15, and the remaining two accused were arrested a day later. A case was registered under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 325 of the the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The victim’s family had received a compensation of ₹1 lakh and will receive another ₹8.25 lakh soon.

Chief Minister Kamal Nath tweeted: “I offer my condolences to the family. In this moment of sadness, the government stands by them.”

‘Protecting accused’

Alleging inaction by the police, former chief minister and BJP vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “The government was silent when the goons thrashed his [the deceased’s] brother’s wife some days earlier. If the police had taken necessary steps then, probably a citizen wouldn’t have had to lose his life. The Congress is protecting the accused.”

Moreover, he claimed, although there were 30-40 goons, as told by the neighbours, the police had registered a case against only five persons. “At the behest of the government, has the police gone deaf and is giving silent support to the accused?” he asked.

Congress spokesman Narendra Saluja said it was unfortunate the BJP was politicising a death. “They are trying to vitiate the atmosphere of the locality. Since they are not left with anything now, the BJP is resorting to such dirty politics.”

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:25:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bjp-congress-exchange-barbs-over-death-of-dalit-youth-set-ablaze-by-neighbours/article30636092.ece

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