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Dalit couple consume poison | Madhya Pradesh rights panel seeks reports from government over Guna incident

Children of a Dalit couple who reportedly consumed pesticide while resisting eviction from a land in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district. Photo: Special Arrangement

Children of a Dalit couple who reportedly consumed pesticide while resisting eviction from a land in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission has sought a report within three weeks from the Gwalior Inspector-General of Police and Guna Collector and Superintendent of Police over an incident involving a dalit couple reportedly consuming pesticide while resisting an anti-encroachment drive on Tuesday. 

Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the Commission’s Chairman Narendra Kumar Jain sent them the notices on Thursday. The couple cultivated swathes of a plot of land allotted for the construction of a government college on the outskirts of Guna.

 

“The man had said he had leased the land from Gappu Pardi. After taking a loan, he had sown fields. But the officials didn’t listen,” the Commission said in a note. The officials came to demarcate land and bulldozed their fields. Protesting against the drive, the couple reportedly consumed pesticide, and while being taken by the police into an ambulance, they resisted, to which personnel landed batons. 

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president Kamal Nath set up a seven-member fact-finding team comprising former Ministers of his previous government, MLAs and leaders. “The committee will gather information from the spot on July 17 and submit their report to the president [Mr. Nath],” said a party order. 

Further, human rights NGO Amnesty India said in a statement the force used by the police was excessive and violated international standards. “The high level inquiry initiated by the administration must be independent and impartial and prosecute the police officers suspected of responsibility,” it said.

 

The organisation appealed to the government to withdraw “the criminal charge of attempt to suicide against the farmers”. Even through the 2017 Mental Health Care Act obliged the government to provide care and treatment to those who attempted suicide, it said, “The couple has been slapped with S. 309 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises attempt to suicide and continues to be in force.”

Those who require assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may see this list of helplines.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 7:51:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/guna-collector-sp-removed-after-dalit-couple-consume-pesticide-resisting-anti-encroachment-drive/article32099630.ece

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