In a shocking incident, a 14-year-old Dalit boy was allegedly forced to eat his faeces by a caste Hindu landowner after he caught the minor defecating at the fringes of his field.
According to reports, the incident took place in Pennagaram in Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri district.
The landowner hurled casteist slurs at the boy and reportedly assaulted him with a cane to make him carry the faeces to his house.
The boy's father has filed a complaint, and a case has been registered against the landowner, identified as Rajsekhar. He has been booked under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act besides sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), for humiliating and hitting the minor.
"It was raining heavily on July 15 and my son got an umbrella from me and left home for defecating in the open. We have a toilet constructed by the Central government but we do not have water, so we defecate in the open. On that day also, my child was defecating on the land owned by Rajasekhar, when he passed by that way. On seeing the child, he immediately got down from the vehicle and started hitting my son with a cane for defecating in the open."
"Rajasekhar told my son to eat the faeces since he had defecated on his land. He also uttered a casteist slur to my boy and told him to pick up the excreta with his hands," alleged the father, reported The News Minute.
The father also stated that when passerby tried to intervene and help the boy, Rajsekhar did not let them do it. By the time, he was aware of his son's ordeal, the boy had reached home and was in a state of shock.
"I immediately washed his hands. But still my child has not had food since he gets reminded of carrying the faeces in his hand," added the father.
The police booked Rajashekar under Sections 323 of the Indian Penal Code, that pertains to voluntarily causing hurt, and Section 3(1) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.
However, he is yet to be arrested.