Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
Upper-caste men allegedly beat a 21-year-old Dalit man to death in Uttarakhand for having dinner sitting on a chair in front of them at a wedding, reported Hindustan Times. This incident took place on the night of April 26 in Shrikot area of Tehri Garhwal district.
The man, who was rushed to a Dehradun-based hospital the next day after he was beaten, succumbed to his injuries on the afternoon of Sunday, May 5. The police identified the deceased as Jitendra Das, a resident of Tehri Garhwal’s Baasan village.
On April 29, a case was registered against seven accused, including residents of the same area, following a complaint lodged by the deceased’s sister.
The deceased’s uncle, Elam Das, narrated the harrowing incident, mentioning that on the night of the incident, all of them had gone to Shrikot to attend the wedding of a distant relative.
While the family was at the other side of the venue, Jitendra had gone to have dinner alone. After dinner, all of them returned to their houses separately. It was only the next morning that they got to know about what had happened when Jitendra’s mother found him unconscious and took him to a nearby hospital. Later, a friend of Jitendra, who had tried to save him from the perpetrators, said that he was beaten up not only at the wedding venue but also on his way back home.
“He told us that on the wedding night, he was having dinner while sitting on a chair before the accused upper-caste men. Seeing him sitting on a chair, they got enraged and kicked his plate before kicking him off the chair using caste-based expletives for daring to sit in front of them,” he said.
After the assault, Jitendra left the venue to go home, but the accused again thrashed him up on his way back. Pritam Das, Jitendra’s cousin, confirmed that his brother was hit on the head and also on his private body parts.
He was so brutally beaten up that he could not manage to enter his house and ended up sleeping on the verandah. He was found unconscious the next morning. The nearby hospital he was rushed to referred him to Dehradun.
The seven accused have been identified as Gajendra, Soban, Kushal, Gabbar, Gambhir, Harbir Singh and Hukam Singh. A case against them was registered at Kempty police station, but no arrests have been made yet.
Pritam alleged that the accused, who are freely roaming around the village, are “pressurising them to arrive at a compromise”.
Circle officer of Narendra Nagar, Uttam Singh, said that an investigation has been initiated after registering a case under sections of IPC and SC/ST Atrocities Act.
“During the investigations, we tried to find any eyewitness but none came forward. The sole eye-witness seems to be the deceased himself. After his death on Sunday, the accused would now be also be booked under murder charges,” he said.
He added that after Jitendra’s post-mortem examination result is received, further action will be initiated.
Caste-based discrimination is an ugly reality in India. Violence against Dalits on account of their caste is a horror that prevails in various parts of the country.
While several people in the country talk about brotherhood and equality, several others firmly believe that a person’s caste can determine their livelihood, their social status, who they can marry, where they can live, who they can touch and who they can walk around and eat with. Insensitivity often reaches its peak with Dalit children not being allowed to play with children of upper castes.
While it is understood that the system may have ancient roots, should we not have created a better society with all these years of education, development and progress?
Incidents of violence against Dalits continue to take place month after month, year after year. People from the upper castes reduce Dalits to a level which does not even allow them to eat together at the same table.
It is true that the Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights for all its citizens, but on the dark side of the country, these rights have done little to improve the condition of millions of people who are unfortunate enough to be born into the horrors of caste-based discrimination and untouchability.
It is extremely unfortunate that such an evil system has existed unchallenged for decades now. People of lower castes who have dared to revolt have often been crushed by a society which has lived on with the deeply ingrained belief that caste determines a person’s social status.
The Logical Indian condemns any form of discrimination and urges authorities to take strict action against the accused in the case.
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