Four of Dalit family in Prayagraj killed, teen allegedly gang-raped; 8 held
The brutal murder of four members of a Dalit family in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj district over a land dispute sparked protests in the region on Friday with politicians making a beeline to the victims’ village and local residents alleging police negligence. Police said the four members – a 50-year-old man, his 47-year-old wife, 17-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son – were found dead on their beds inside their home in Prayagraj district on Thursday morning by relatives. Eight of the 11 accused named in the FIR were arrested, police added.
“The deceased family had filed an SC/ST case against some people of the village itself,” said Sarvashresth Tripathi, deputy inspector general of police, Prayagraj. He said autopsy report suggested that the victims were assaulted with an axe.
A written complaint to the police by one of the relatives of the victim mentioned a land dispute and alleged that members of an upper-caste family had issued physical and verbal threats to the Dalit family in the past. But local residents alleged that the family had approached the local police station to lodge an FIR but were rebuffed.
“The allegation of not taking any action in earlier cases is also alleged by the family of the deceased. Keeping all these in mind, action is being taken, some people have also been taken into custody. An axe was found near their bodies, it looks like they were hit by that axe only,” Tripathi added.
The bodies of the four members were handed over to their kin after post-mortem examination on Friday. When the bodies arrived at the village, local residents staged a protest demanding compensation, immediate arrest of the accused, a gun licence and lease of land to the family. Senior officials declared immediate financial assistance of ₹16.50 lakh, police security and a gun licence to the next of kin of the deceased’s family.
Police said viscera and vaginal swabs were preserved for detailed examination. Based on a complaint by a kin, police registered an FIR against 11 persons for murder and rape under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Police also suspended three policemen, including the station house officer of the local station, for laxity in connection with the incident. Late in the evening, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met the kin of the victims. “The women in the family are living in terror and are scared that they may face harassment again,” she said.
Questioning the administration’s silence over the matter, she added that the women in the family were mocked by the police when they went searching for help.
“What happened to Arun Valmiki in Agra, what happened in Hathras and what is happening here? If Dalits are continually being tortured, what is the point of celebrating Constitution Day? Why isn’t the administration doing anything?”