Police in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district have arrested two persons for allegedly beating to death two Dalit children who were defecating in the open in their village on the way to their grandparents’ place in the district on September 25 morning.
“At 6 a.m., as the boy and the girl, aged 11 and 12, and relatives, were passing through Bhavkhedi village in Sirsod police station limits while on the way to their grandparents’ place, brothers Hakim Singh Yadav And Rameshwar Yadav landed lathis on their heads, killing them,” said Rajesh Singh Chandel, Shivpuri Superintendent of Police.
Although the police had earlier denied that the two were defecating in the open, Inspector-General (Gwalior Range) Raja Babu Singh later confirmed, “On the way to their grandparents’ place, they defecated in the open. And that’s when one of the accused started beating them and they died on the spot. Villagers rushed to them, but it was too late”
Villagers told the police that Hakim Singh Yadav would get “unnecessarily hyper” over petty things and had undergone treatment for a mental illness in the past. “He appears to be doing fine now,” said Mr. Chandel.
Yet, cautioned Mr. Raja Babu Singh, the police couldn’t take the version of a mentally unstable man as “gospel”. “He was the one who landed the blows first,” he added.
Ruling out a community angle at this point, Mr. Chandel said, “Although Yadavs are dominant in the area, this is no history of animosity between the two communities.”
However, a local policeman, requesting anonymity, said the accused held a grudge against the victims’ families. “Two years ago, they had reportedly taken wood from the field of the accused to build a hut,” he added.
One of the victim’s father, an agricultural labourer, had complained to the police after the incident. The police had registered a case under Section 302 [punishment for murder] of the Indian Penal Code and relevant Sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Bodies of the deceased were taken to a hospital for post mortem.
Meanwhile, Sudhir Kode, who works for Dalit rights in the area, claimed the police were trying to suppress the case as it involved a dabang (powerful) community in the area. He said the village of the victims was just 100 metres from the spot of the incident.
The Human Rights Law Network said it would sent a fact-finding team to the spot on September 28.