Dalit teen killed, 2 injured in U.P. during clash over installing Dr. Ambedkar’s board

After protest by the deceased’s family and the local villagers, a case was registered under relevant sections of the SCST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the government officials

Updated - February 28, 2024 11:38 pm IST

Published - February 28, 2024 11:37 pm IST - Lucknow

Tensions prevailed in Silai Baragaon village of Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district following the death of a Dalit teenager during a clash over the installation of a board with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s photo on a disputed public land.

Somesh Kumar (17), was on his way back home after appearing for his Class 10 board examination, when he was killed during an ongoing clash between the locals. Two other individuals were injured during the clash as well, and were rushed to a hospital where their condition was stabilised.

After protest by the deceased’s family and the local villagers, a case was registered under section 302 (murder), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 148 (rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the government officials.

After the case was registered, the final rites of the deceased were performed on Wednesday.

“The clashes began when a team led by the Deputy Collector, Milak and Circle Officer went to remove the board on February 27, at 5 p.m. Some locals pelted stones at the team, and when shots were fired in response the youth was killed. A case is registered at the Milak police station under relevant sections and action is taken as per law,” Rampur police said in a statement. 

“Two police officers, Adesh Chauhan and Rishipal, opened fire at the behest of the Gangwar community. My brother Somesh was passing through the area and a bullet hit him and he died on the spot,” Somesh’s brother has alleged in a viral video.

Dalit leader and Azad Samaj Party president Chandra Shekhar Azad who was on the way to Rampur to meet the victim’s family was stopped at Sambhal on Wednesday from reaching Silia Baragaon in Rampur.

“I am recalling Hathras today. The oppression of Dalits is at its peak in Uttar Pradesh. Somesh bhai has been shot dead by the police in Rampur, many people are injured but the police is stopping me at Sambhal. Now can’t I even meet the victim’s family? Truly Uttar Pradesh has changed, now there is no need of criminals to kill Dalits, Yogi ji’s police is enough. Deploy as much police as you need to stop me, I will go and will definitely go. The government should listen to this carefully. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ji should tell us when the killings of Dalits will stop,” Mr. Azad wrote on X (formerly Twitter). 

Congress party also condemned the incident, and demanded an inquiry into the killing and action against the culprits.

“The police in presence of the Deputy District Magistrate along with some bullies attacked and shot dead the Dalit student Somesh Kumar and injured two other people,” Dr. Udit Raj, National Chairman, Unorganised Workers and Employees Congress, said in New Delhi. 

The Superintendent of Police Rampur, and the Deputy Superintendent of Police could not be reached despite multiple attempts for a response.

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