Days after protests against alleged sexual assault of a five-year-old girl by a 15-year-old boy took a violent turn in Nashik, two Dalit men on Thursday approached the Bombay high court and claimed that their community members had been attacked, harassed and boycotted by the upper caste people in at least in six villages of the Igatpuri tehsil.
The court directed assistant public prosecutor Mankuwar Deshmukh to inform the court whether the Nasik police want to register an offence in the case.
Caste tensions flared after the Dalit boy allegedly sexually assaulted the minor from the Maratha community at Talegaon in Trimbakeshwar, around 175km from Mumbai, on October 9.
In their petition, Sanjegao residents Babybai Shinde, 50, and Sahebrao Pawar, 30, said that on October 9, a mob of 50 men had stormed into 15 houses and attacked Dalits in their village. Two sons of Babybai, Shivaji and Vijay, received grievous injuries and are now in critical condition. Despite heavy security arrangement to prevent caste violence, the police failed to take any preventive action, the petition reads. Their counsel, Gunratan Sadavarte, also informed the high court that their family member are also facing social boycott, making it difficult for them to use public utilities: roads, schools and water taps.
Sadavarte said that the petitioners contacted Director General of Police Subhash Mathur but received apathetic reply. “The DGP not only refused to see the petitioners but told them that they were welcome to approach the high court.”
After the sexual assault, the members of the upper caste community reacted sharply to the incident by allegedly attacking Dalits. On the next day, locals from Talegaon near Tribakeshwar torched government buses and pelted stones at the convoy of water resources minister Girish Mahajan, who is also the guardian minister of Nashik. The mob also attacked the car of the Inspector General of Police, Vijaykumar Choube.