Other States

Two Dalits tortured in Rajasthan, 7 arrested

Several videos of the assault and torture went viral on social media, led to reactions and protests

Two Dalit youths were beaten up, stripped and tortured in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district on the suspicion of stealing money from the cash box of an automobile service agency. The police on Thursday arrested seven persons accused of committing the crime after several videos of the assault went viral on social media, leading to protests in the State Assembly and strong reactions from political leaders.

The videos of the assault showed a group of men thrashing the two youths, who are cousins, with rubber belts. They later allegedly dipped a piece of cloth wrapped on a screwdriver in petrol and inserted it in the private parts of one of them.

The incident at Nagaur district’s Karnu village reportedly took place on February 16. The victims, Bisa Ram, 24, and Panna Ram, 20, could be heard screaming and pleading in the video footage.

The youths lodged a complaint at Panchodi Police Station, after which a case under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (causing hurt) and 143 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered.

Heinous crime unit

Director-General of Police Bhupendra Singh said the heinous crime monitoring unit would monitor the case and it would be taken up under the case officer scheme for speedy investigation. In addition to the seven accused arrested by the police, seven other were detained and their alleged role in the crime was being looked into.

Inspector General of Police (Human Rights) Bipin Kumar Pandey left here for Nagaur for a detailed probe, while the Pradesh Congress Committee and the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party formed committees to look into the incident.

Three legislators of the Opposition Rashtriya Loktantrik Party tried to disturb the Assembly proceedings when Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was about to start reading out his Budget speech. As they entered the well of the House to protest against the incident, Speaker C. P. Joshi asked them to go back to their seats.

The three MLAs — Narayan Beniwal, Indira Devi and Pukhraj Garg — later staged a dharna on the stairs at the Assembly’s entrance gate. They were carrying placards condemning the incident and demanding removal of the Nagaur Superintendent of Police.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said immediate and effective action had been taken in the horrific incident and nobody would be spared. “The culprits will be punished according to the law and we will ensure that the victims get justice,” he tweeted.

Rahul reacts

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reacted sharply to the incident and said the video of the two victims being tortured was “horrific and sickening”. He asked the State government to take immediate action to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said the incident in the Congress-ruled State was a “painful reminder” of the 2016 Una flogging incident in Gujarat. “The torture and exploitation of Dalits continues unabated at all places... Not a perfunctory but a real effective action should be taken by the government,” she tweeted.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 8:01:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/2-dalits-caught-stealing-money-beaten-up-in-rajasthan/article30867271.ece

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