Panki Bai is running from pillar to post, along with her five children, seeking justice for her husband, Kheema Bheel, who died in MP’s Jhabua district on the intervening night of May 9 -10 after he was allegedly beaten up by the village sarpanch.
35-year-old Panki Bai came to Indore from Jhabua along with her children and sister-in-law to meet authorities at a weekly public hearing in Indore on Tuesday, to seek justice and bring to book people, who allegedly killed her husband. She said the local police bowing under political pressure, are acting like mute spectators and have refused to take action against accused, Santosh Bariya.
Kheema, 40, a tribal from Jhabua’s Machliya village was living at Kankad Pigdamber village with his wife, children and a sister.
“Bariya is still roaming freely in the village threatening me and my family,” said Panki Bai.
Bariya, however, denied the allegation levelled by the deceased’s family members, saying that it is baseless and they are trying to malign his name.
Panki Bai, a daily wage farmer, in her police complaint said that in the evening on May 9, at her nephew’s wedding in the village, Kheema got drunk and was dancing at the function. He was asking people present at the wedding to dance with him and Bariya was also there and Kheema asked him to dance with him, she said in her complaint.
“A dispute started between Bhariya and Kheema and the sarpach allegedly pushed the deceased on the ground and started beating him up with a baton,” she said in her complaint.
“Somehow my family members rescued Kheema and locked him inside the room to save him from Bariya. My husband’s condition deteriorated and he died.”
“After my husband’s death, villagers close to Bariya tried to cover-up the matter and asked me to cremate him early in the morning, but I refused and approached the police requesting them to probe the matter and lodged a complaint with the Kishanganj police.
“Police have registered a case under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but they refused to take action against Bariya even after a fortnight,” Panki Bai said.
“He (Bariya) is threatening me and my family members and pressuring us to withdraw the police complaint.”
When contacted Bariya denied the allegations levelled against him, saying that Kheema was drunk and misbehaving with village women present at his nephew’s wedding.
“We just pushed him inside his house and what happened inside his house late at night is not known. We came to know about his death only in the morning and being the village sarpanch it is my duty to help his family,” he said.
“This is a political conspiracy against me.”
Mhow additional superintendent of police Vivek Singh said the matter is under investigation and police are acting as per the law.
On the threatening phone calls from the sarpanch, Singh said, “So far we did not get any complaint from the deceased family members and if somebody lodges a complaint with us, we will take relevant action in the matter.”