The sky-rocketing price of vegetables is said to be killing the poor in the country, metaphorically speaking. It actually did in Jharkhand on Friday when a rickshaw-puller was bludgeoned to death just because he kept on asking for more vegetables at a Daltonganj kiosk offering subsidised meal under a Jharkhand government scheme.
The 24-year-old rickshaw-puller, identified as Dilip Kumar, died on en route to hospital Friday afternoon after he was hit with an iron ladle by the person who runs the kiosk, known as a 'daal-bhat kendra'.
The daal-bhat kendras in Jharkhand offer a plate of rice, dal and vegetables for Rs. 5. The kiosks run under the Mukhyamantri Daal Bhaat Yojna, a state government flagship programme launched by former chief minister Arjun Munda in 2011. The state has around 300 such kiosks.
Eye-witnesses said that the accused flew into a rage after the rickshaw-puller kept on asking for more vegetables even after being told that the price of vegetables have gone up too high to be served twice for Rs. 5.
The accused, Babloo Prasad, pulled out a ladle and hit Kumar under one of his earlobes, leading to profuse bleeding. Though Kumar was rushed to government sadar hospital, barely one-and-a-half kilometre from the daal-bhat kendra near the Rotary School, doctors declared him brought dead.
Babloo went into hiding after the incident.
The officer in-charge of the Daltonganj police station Manoj Thakur said that a criminal case under section 304 of IPC (for culpable homicide) has been registered against Babloo.
Police have detained Babloo Prasad’s to put pressure on the accused to surrender.
Rickshaw-pullers are the main customers in the daal-bhaat kendras though others too take advantage of the scheme. Among the patrons of such kendras are students and office-goers.