Other States

Tension in Rajasthan village after Dalit boy’s death

Senior officers holding a meeting with Inder Meghwal’s family members at his house in Surana village. Photo: Special Arrangement

Senior officers holding a meeting with Inder Meghwal’s family members at his house in Surana village. Photo: Special Arrangement

Tension prevailed in Jalore district’s Sayla tehsil on Sunday, as the body of a Dalit boy who died allegedly after being beaten up by his school teacher, was brought to his native village Surana.

According to police, the incident took place on July 20 in Jalore when the teacher, Chhail Singh (40), thrashed the boy and threw casteist slurs at him when he touched an earthen pot kept aside for the teacher and drank water from it.

The nine-year-old boy, Inder Meghwal, was admitted to hospitals in Jalore, Bhinmal and Udaipur in Rajasthan before being shifted to Ahmedabad, where he died on Saturday without responding to treatment.

His father Deva Ram said in his complaint to the police that Inder had sustained injuries in his right ear and eye due to the assault by the teacher. There was bleeding from his ear and his eye was sore. The boy did not know that the pot was meant for Mr. Singh, who belongs to a higher caste, he added.

Inder’s family members and villagers staged a demonstration demanding strict action against Mr. Singh and cancellation of recognition of the private school, Saraswati Vidya Mandir. Police used force to disperse a crowd which hurled stones on the policemen after raising demands for higher compensation and government job to one of the family members. A few persons sustained injuries in the clash.

The body of the boy was not cremated till late evening amid the confusion, despite the family reportedly having made all preparations for the last rites.

Mobile internet services were suspended in the entire Jalore district for 24 hours to check the spread of rumours and prevent the situation from escalating. Senior administrative and police officers earlier went to Surana and met Inder’s family members. While assuring them of prompt action, they informed the family that Mr. Singh had been arrested after his interrogation.

Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch activists staging a demonstration at Ambedkar Circle in Alwar in protest against the assault of a Dalit boy.

Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch activists staging a demonstration at Ambedkar Circle in Alwar in protest against the assault of a Dalit boy. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The accused has been booked under Section 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code and the relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The investigation into the incident has been taken up under the ‘case officer scheme’, in which a single police officer follows up prosecution of the accused till the conclusion of the trial.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot termed the Dalit student’s death as tragic and announced a financial assistance of ₹5 lakh to the family of the deceased. Mr. Gehlot said justice would be ensured to the victim’s family at the earliest, as speedy probe under the ‘case officer scheme’ would lead to punishment to the guilty.

While the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party demanded action against the owners of the private school and alleged that the incident had happened because of “weakness” of the Congress government and the Chief Minister, Dalit groups expressed outrage over the boy’s death, 24 days after the assault. The Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR) decided to send a fact-finding team to Surana village.

CDR director Satish Kumar said an “interim memorandum” submitted to the Chief Minister had demanded that the teacher be booked under the Protection of Civil Rights Act and the Juvenile Justice Act as well and a stringent punishment be awarded to him. Besides, a compensation of ₹50 lakh should be paid to the victim’s family on the lines of the assistance given to the next of kin of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur, he said.

Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch activists staged a demonstration at Ambedkar Circle in Alwar in protest against the incident and raised slogans demanding steps to do away with untouchability and discrimination against Dalits. Manch convener Ramesh Bairwa said the assault of a Dalit student merely because he had touched a pot was unacceptable, as it violated all principles of equality as well as the rule of law.


Our code of editorial values

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 10:55:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/tension-in-sayla-tehsil-after-dalit-boys-death/article65768697.ece