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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Nine days after torture, Sangrur Dalit labourer dies at PGI, Chandigarh

cities Updated: Nov 16, 2019 23:12 IST
Avtar Singh
Avtar Singh
Hindustan Times, Sangrur

Jagmail Singh, 37, a Dalit construction worker from Sangrur district of Punjab who was brutally beaten up and forced to drink urine when he asked for water, died at Chandigarh’s PGI on Saturday morning.

Police said Jagmail was tied to a pillar and beaten up with iron rods and lathis at Changaliwala village near Lehra town, 55 km from Sangrur, on November 7 following a minor dispute.

Lehra station house officer Satnam Singh said the police have arrested all four accused and added Section 302 of the IPC for murder in the first information report. “The victim was undergoing treatment at PGI, Chandigarh, and both his legs had to be amputated to control the spread of infection due to the injuries,” the SHO said.

Jagmail is survived by his wife, two daughters and a minor son.

His death has sparked outrage in Sangrur where Dalit organisations have called a protest, demanding compensation for the family. “We want strict action against the culprits and the government should compensate the family. A member of the family should be given a government job on humanitarian grounds,” said Bikkar Singh, the district chief of Dalit outfit Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee.

The accused, Rinku, Amarjeet Singh, Lucky, alias Goli, and Beeta, alias Binder, all residents of Changaliwala village, belong to upper castes and were booked for abduction, wrongful confinement, attempt to commit culpable homicide and voluntarily causing hurt under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act at Lehra police station on Wednesday.

In his complaint, Jagmail said he had a dispute with Rinku on September 21 after which they had reached a compromise. Villagers said Jagmail was drunk and sitting outside Rinku’s house when the argument began.

But at 9am on November 7, Rinku and Binder picked Jagmail up from the house of panch Gurdial Singh, saying they were taking him along to give him medicine. Instead, they took him to Rinku’s house where Amarjit was present. They tied him to a pillar and allegedly beat him up with the iron rods and lathis (iron-bound bamboo stick).

“When I asked for water, they forcibly made me drink urine,” Jagmail told the police in the complaint.

Doctors attending to Jagmail at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, said he was brought to the emergency wing in a serious condition on Friday. His legs had developed gangrene and the infection could spread to other parts of the body hence both the limbs were amputated. “One leg was amputated from above the knee, while the other from the thigh. During treatment, he suffered multiple organ failure and died at 4am on Saturday,” a doctor said, requesting anonymity.