Amidst widespread condemnation of the incident of a Dalit youth being allegedly beaten and paraded naked in Gundlupet taluk in Chamarajanagar district on Tuesday, the police arrested five persons in connection with the case on Wednesday.
The police gave the names of those held as Basavaraju, 38, Manikya, 38, Satish, 31, Channakeshava Murthy, 32, and Puttaswamy, 40. The accused are from Madrahalli village in the taluk. Shivappa, a temple priest, who is also an accused in the case, is yet to be nabbed.
The police have registered the case under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and under several IPC sections.
S. Pratap, a native of Shyanadrahalli in the taluk, but presently residing in Mysuru with his parents, was assaulted and paraded naked after he allegedly defiled the idols of a temple in Kabbekatte village in the taluk on June 3. The video of the torture went viral on social media.
An FIR was lodged after Kantharaju, the youth’s relative, filed a complaint with the Gundlupet police on June 11 seeking action against the perpetrators. The police said they were not informed of the fact that the youth was paraded naked before he was brought to the Gundlupet station on June 3. Those who brought him in had accused him of desecrating the temple.
On learning that his son was with the police, Mr. Shivaiah rushed to the station. He pleaded with the police not to arrest him since he was depressed and had left home without telling his family. Mr. Shivaiah showed hospital records to justify his claim, said the police. The father explained that his son was an UPSC aspirant and had prepared for it before he went into depression.
He had also told the temple committee members that he would compensate the damage his son had caused to the temple. The youth was taken back to his home by his father after the temple committee decided not to register a case against him, the police said. However, later, Mr. Kantharaju filed the complaint and the police arrested five accused based on it.
Dalit and progressive organisations staged protests in Mysuru on Wednesday strongly condemning the incident.
Describing the act as “heinous and a disgrace to civilised society”, members of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS), Mysuru district committee, staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office. They alleged that Chamarajanagar district administration and the district police has not taken any action in the case though it took place more than a week ago. DSS members from various taluks of the district participated in the protest.
In a press release, the DSS said atrocities against Dalits were occurring often as stringent action was not being taken against the perpetrators. “There is no fear of law and the case involving the Dalit youth is a testimony,” the activists said in the release.
Another group of Dalit activists and progressive thinkers staged a demonstration in front of the statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar near the Town Hall here condemning the incident. Mahesh Chandra Guru, a retired professor, Dalit activist Choranahalli Shivanna, and several others participated.