Rajasthan Dalit MLA quits over Inder Meghwal’s death issue

The Dalit boy had succumbed to his injuries caused by alleged assault by a teacher in his school

Published - August 15, 2022 10:57 pm IST - JAIPUR

Two days after the death of nine-year-old Dalit boy Inder Meghwal in Rajasthan’s Jalore district, a Dalit MLA of the ruling Congress on Monday sent in his resignation to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, saying he had “no moral right” to stay in the government after the incident. Inder had succumbed after 24 days of medical treatment to injuries caused by an alleged assault by a teacher in his school.

Baran-Atru MLA Pana Chand Meghwal said he had resigned at the call of his conscience because he was unable to protect the rights and get justice to his community. “It hurts me to see the way the Dalits are persecuted even 75 years after Independence. They are killed for drinking water from a pot, riding a mare in wedding and keeping moustache,” he said.

Mr. Meghwal, who is also the Baran District Congress Committee president, said the judicial process was often stalled in the cases of atrocities against Dalits and the police submitted final report without full investigation. “I have raised such matters in the State Assembly several times in the past, but no action was taken by the police,” Mr. Meghwal said.

Embarrassment to Congress

The Baran-Atru Assembly constituency is reserved for Scheduled Castes. While the MLA’s offer to resign came as an embarrassment to the Congress, the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission took suo motu cognisance of the incident on Monday and issued notices to the Jalore Collector and the Superintendent of Police (SP), asking them to hold investigation and submit their reports by August 26.

The body of the boy was cremated in his native village Surana in the presence of the Collector and the SP on Sunday night after a day-long tension, during which the villagers clashed with the policemen while raising demands for a higher compensation and the government job to one of the family members.

Teacher arrested

The accused teacher, Chhail Singh, has since been arrested and booked on murder charges, while the investigation has been taken up under the ‘case officer scheme’. Inder’s father Deva Ram has alleged that Mr. Singh beat his son and threw casteist slurs at him when he touched an earthen pot kept aside for the teacher and drank water from it.

Senior Congress leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot has condemned the incident and said he expected the administration to do justice to the family members as soon as possible, instead of taking “perfunctory action”. Mr. Pilot will visit Surana village on Tuesday to meet Inder’s family members.

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