‘No justice for Dalits. I quit’: Congress MLA tells Gehlot after boy’s death

Updated on Aug 15, 2022 08:38 PM IST

Congress legislator Pana Chand Meghwal on Sunday asked chief minister Ashok Gehlot to announce ₹50 lakh compensation for the Dalit boy’s family but did not get a response from the chief minister.

The BJP capitalised on Congress MLA Panna Chand Meghwal’s resignation letter, saying it was time that chief minister Ashok Gehlot takes up the issue on priority. (Facebook/PanachandINC)
The BJP capitalised on Congress MLA Panna Chand Meghwal’s resignation letter, saying it was time that chief minister Ashok Gehlot takes up the issue on priority. (Facebook/PanachandINC)
By, Jaipur

A Congress lawmaker on Monday sent his resignation letter to chief minister Ashok Gehlot over the death of a 9-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly thrashed by a teacher at school for touching a drinking water pot, saying atrocities against Dalits have been on the rise over the past few years and that he didn’t have the right to remain a legislator if he can’t protect the community.

“When we fail to protect the rights of our community and get them justice, then we have no right to remain on the post. After listening to my inner voice, I resign from the post of the MLA, so that I can serve the community without any post,” legislator Pana Chand Meghwal said in a letter to chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday. Hours later, Meghwal released his letter to the assembly speaker as well.

“Dalits and the deprived communities are being killed in the name of drinking water from a pot, keeping moustache or riding a mare. In the name of probe, the files are sent here and there, and the judicial process is stalled. The atrocity cases against Dalit are rising over the on last few years. It seems that there is no one to protect the rights of Dalits given by the Constitution written by Bhim Rao Ambedkar. In maximum cases filed by Dalit, the police submit final report, many a times have raised such cases in state assembly but no action was taken by police,” Meghwal said in her letter that has come as a huge embarrassment for the ruling Congress-led government.

Also Read | BJP slams Ashok Gehlot on 9-year-old Dalit boy's death: ‘Countless incidents..’

Congress spokesperson RC Choudhary said the number of Dalit atrocity cases might appear to be rising but this was because of the government’s policy of registering all complaints that ensures timely action against the culprits. Choudhary noted that chief minister Gehlot had already condemned the Dalit boy’s death and the accused teacher was promptly arrested.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the Gehlot government had failed to protect Dalits and the MLA’s resignation letter was proof that the Congress government needed to acknowledge the problem and take steps.

“Crime has increased in the state, especially against Dalits and women – the NCRB report says the same thing. But the chief minister, who holds the home portfolio, and is trying to save himself. In the last 3.5 years, no action plan has been made to curb atrocities against Dalit,” he said.

“The CM needs to think why his party MLAs are miffed,” he said.

Gehlot hasn’t spoken on the MLA’s offer to quit. But at a news conference on Monday, he took swipe at the BJP.

“Untouchability is a stigma for humanity. I would like to tell those who think of building a nation in the name of religion that Pakistan is an example. Democracy was murdered and Pakistan was divided into parts,” Gehlot said.

“Those who talk about religion should also look at the discrimination happening against Dalits and Adivasis,” he said.

“Those who talk about religion, I hope that they will pay attention to how inequality and untouchability can be eliminated. It is a taboo on humanity. If you talk about building a nation in the name of religion then you should at least eliminate it,” Gehlot said.

On the child’s death in Jalore, he said the accused was immediately arrested and compensation was given. “Those (political leaders) going to the victim’s village can go but I believe that they will do politics. Even they (BJP) have said that inflation and unemployment is an explosive situation in the country, if not handled then they will have to suffer.”

Rajasthan SC Commission demands 50 lakh compensation and government job.

Rajasthan commission for scheduled castes chairman Khiladi Lal Bairwa met the family of the Jhalore student. “It is an unfortunate and painful incident. On one hand, the country is celebrating Amrit Utsav, and on the other side, atrocities on Dalit are happening,” he said.

Bairwa said, “The boy has been murdered. The government in Udaipur’s Kanhaiya Lal (tailor) murder case gave 50 lakh and government job to two children. Dalits are also religious and politically exploited. We demand that like what was done in Udaipur, the family of the student should be treated equally – 50 lakh compensation and job.”

He said the government swiftly took the action but job and compensation will boost their morale.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sachin Saini is Special Correspondent for Rajasthan. He covers politics, tourism, forest, home, panchayati raj and rural development, and development journalism.

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