A civil society members’ fact finding team has said that Dalits living in Dudlai village in MP’s Sehore district, which is chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s home district, are living under the “shadow of terror unleashed by the upper caste lobby”.
The team which included Rashtriya Secular Manch convener LS Herdenia, Dr Ambedkar Samajik Nayay Kendra’s Anita Malviya, and Action Aid’s Sarika Sinha and Swati, visited Dudlai after a Dalit boy of the village was thrashed by a upper caste villager, Bhagirath Jat. The boy had earned the wrath of the alleged offender for ‘daring’ to take water from the latter’s tube-well.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Herdenia said the boy told the team that he and his brother’s wife were herding cattle when he felt thirsty and had water from a nearby tube-well. At that point, Jat, who owned the field, turned up and started abusing them. Jat first attempted to hit the woman with a lathi. When she protested, he started beating the minor.
“I fell unconscious. I was taken home by my sister-in-law. Later, during a medical check-up I came to know I had suffered a fracture,” the boy said, according to the fact-finding team.
The team said when the boy’s father went to the police station to lodge a complaint, the police station in-charge refused to entertain them. The police lodged the report when the media highlighted the incident, but then the upper caste lobby announced a boycott of the scheduled caste residents of the village.
The team also found that the policemen sent to the village for security of the Dalit family were not staying near the family but were staying at the panchayat bhavan.
The team demanded that a police outpost be set up at the village and an inquiry should be instituted as to why the Dalit family’s report was not lodged by the police on April 4 and why security was not provided.
The team didn’t find any discrimination against the scheduled caste children in the primary school, but that it is because the upper caste lobby has opened its private school.
The scheduled caste people are also not allowed to enter the village temple. Recently, scheduled caste people performed a puja at a Hanuman temple, following which, upper caste villagers stopped going to the temple.