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Rajasthan Dalit boy's death: NCPCR seeks strict action

Rajasthan Dalit boy’s death: NCPCR seeks strict action

August 17, 2022

 The Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan came under more pressure Tuesday over the death of a Dalit boy with the apex child rights body seeking strict action and 12 Congress councillors in a municipal body sending their resignation letters to the chief minister.

Indra Meghwal, a student of a private school in Surana village of Rajasthan’s Jalore district, was beaten up by his teacher on July 20 for allegedly touching a drinking water pot. The boy succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Ahmedabad on August 13.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in a letter to the district magistrate said the matter is serious and sought copies of the FIR, action taken by the administration against the accused and a transcript of the action taken by police within seven days.

The child rights body sought strict action by the Rajasthan government against those responsible for beating to death the Dalit boy for touching a drinking water pot.

Meanwhile, 12 Congress councillors in the Rajasthan’s Baran Municipal Council sent their resignation letters to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, expressing anguish over atrocities against the Dalits.

They backed party’s Baran-Atru MLA Pana Chand Meghwal, who on Monday had sent his resignation letter to Gehlot, saying he doesn’t have the right to remain a legislator if he can’t protect his community.

Baran’s Ward No.29 councillor Yogendra Mehta said they sent their resignation letters in support of the MLA and against the government’s failure to protect the Dalits.

The other councillors who sent their resignation letters are Rohitashva Saxena, Rajaram Meena, Rekha Meena, Leeladhar Nagar, Hariraj Erwal, Piyush Soni, Urvashi Meghwal, Yashwant Yadav, Anwar Ali, Jyoti Jatav and Mayank Mathodia, he said.

They will submit copies of their resignation letters to the Kota divisional commissioner on Wednesday, Mehta added.

In Kota’s Itawa civic body, nominated councillor Suresh Mahawar also sent his resignation letter to the CM.

Rajasthan Education Minister B D Kalla said the government is in the process of terminating the affiliation of the private school where the incident took place. The minister told reporters in Bikaner, “At the same time, an advisory will be issued so that no such incident occurs in the future.”

Meanwhile, political leaders made a beeline for the boy’s home in Jalore’s Surana village.

Congress leader and former state deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot reached the boy’s home and said a strong message needs to be given to win the Dalit community’s trust.

Pilot called for zero tolerance to such incidents and sought action against local officials for an alleged lathi-charge on the victim’s family.

“We will have to instill confidence among Dalits that we stand with them. There is no other option. The government should work on the shortcomings to change the system,” he said after visiting the victim’s family.

Pilot said it is not appropriate to say that such incidents happen in other states as well.

“There should be zero tolerance to such incidents. We should not wait for the next incident to take action. We have to take steps to defeat such ideology. No one can escape after committing atrocities on Dalits,” he said.

State Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra visited the boy’s home with Women and Child Welfare Minister Mamta Bhupesh, PWD Minister Bhajan Lal Jatav and Disaster Management and Relief Minister Govind Ram Meghwal.

He announced a financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the family from the party fund and promise a speedy trial.

“Our party president Sonia Gandhi and leader Rahul Gandhi have directed the leaders and MLAs to visit the family and do whatever can be done to assist them,” he said.

The Congress leader said the boy’s family members had resentment against the local police and they have been assured that action against the guilty will be taken. One police constable was suspended on Tuesday, he said.

MLA Pana Chand Meghwal and Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission, Justice G K Vyas, also visited the village and consoled the family.

On the other hand, BJP’s Jalore MLA said it is doubtful that the boy was beaten by the teacher for being from the Meghwal caste and touching the water pot.

“I have talked to villagers and others, and as per them, there is doubt that the incident occurred because the boy was a Meghwal and he touched the water pot,” Garg said in a video statement.

“There is no doubt that the boy was beaten up by the teacher and he died. The accused teacher has been arrested. Inquiries are being conducted. Whether he was beaten up for being a Meghwal and touching the water pot, let it be clear in the investigation. Only after the findings, statements should be given,” he said.

In Jaipur, four members of the Bhim Army climbed atop an overhead water tank, demanding a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the boy’s family.

The BSP also held protest rallies at district headquarters and handed over representations addressed to the president to district administration officials.

Also Read:India: Caste discrimination abroad

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