Jalore Dalit boy beaten to death: Rajasthan police say no caste angle, family differs
Senior Congress leader and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met the family members of the deceased at their residence in Jalore district and said there should be zero tolerance against such incidences.
Days after a nine-year-old Dalit boy died allegedly after he was beaten up by a teacher for touching a drinking water pot in a private school in Jalore district, the Rajasthan police on Tuesday said preliminary investigations ruled out a caste angle in the crime.
“We have spoken to students and teachers, who are also from the Meghwal community (a Scheduled Caste) , but as of now the allegation does not look right,” said Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla, Jalore superintendent of police (SP). “The report of FSL (forensic science laboratory) is awaited. The cause of death will be clear after the probe.”
Agarwalla added that the school does not have pots for drinking water, but that students share a water tank from which water is piped out, a claim that belies allegations that the boy was beaten up for touching a pot meant for the upper castes.
On Tuesday evening, senior Congress leader and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met the family members of the deceased at their residence in Jalore district and said there should be zero tolerance against such incidences.
“Such discrimination is taking place in our system even after 75 year of independence — this is a matter of self-introspection for all of us. It was written in the FIR that he drank water from a pot which was of his master. His death raises several questions,” he said. “There should be zero tolerance against such incidences. We all need to defeat the mind set and for the same some steps should be taken conveying that nobody involved in crime against Dalit and weaker section will be spared. The fear of law should be there or else the incidents will keep on happening.”
Indra Meghwal, a student of the private school, Saraswati Vidhya Mandir, in Surana village, was beaten up badly on July 20. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Ahmedabad on August 13.
The teacher involved, Chail Singh, 40, has been arrested and booked for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and under sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Agarwalla said on Sunday.
According to the police, the boy’s uncle registered a complaint, based on which a first information report was filed against the teacher. The family has alleged that Meghwal suffered injuries in his face and ear and was almost unconscious after he was beaten up by his teacher for touching a drinking water pot. On Sunday, the SP said the reason of death as alleged by the boy’s family in their complaint was being investigated.
The boy’s family on Tuesday stuck to their version that he died after being beaten up for allegedly touching the water pot segregated for so called upper castes. “When the child was injured, he told us that he was beaten up over the earthen pot issue,” the boy’s uncle told HT.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the Dalit boy’s family, Pilot said he has been told that the body of the boy was buried in dark and that force was used on family members, who lost their kid. “The government should immediately take action on the responsible officers. The family is still living under fear,” he said.
Pilot added that “voices should be raised” against injustice. “When the ruling government is of the party, then it is our responsibility to bring justice to the family.”
Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Jalore, Jogeshwar Garg, said it was doubtful that the Dalit boy was thrashed because he touched a water pot used by upper-caste people.
“I have spoken to villagers and others. According to them, there is doubt that the incident occurred because the boy was of Meghwal community and touched the water pot,” Garg told reporters.
“There is no doubt that the boy was beaten up by the teacher and he died. The accused has been arrested and an investigation is being held. Whether he was beaten up for being a Meghwal and touching the water pot will be clear after the probe,” he added.
“The school is owned by two people — one is from the Rajput community and the other is a Mochi (SC). Majority of the students here are from SC/ST community, and half of the staff is also from SC/ST community,” he said.
Garg said he has also learnt that the school only has a water tank as a source of drinking water. “I appeal to all not to make provocative statements before knowing the truth,” he added.
A senior official said the state government is likely to terminate the affiliation of the school.
The Rajasthan Congress on Tuesday also announced financial assistance of ₹20 lakh to the family of the deceased, besides ₹5 lakh from the CM relief fund as announced earlier.
“The incident is unfortunate and a serious concern,” said state Congress president Goving Singh Dotasara. “Justice will be delivered.”
Dotasara, along with a group of ministers including Mamta Bhupesh, Bhajan Lal Jatav, Govind Meghwal, legislators and other senior leaders, met the family earlier in the day.
Meanwhile protesting against the Jalore incident, seven councillors of Baran municipal council have sent their resignation to chief minister Ashok Gehlot. It came day after Congress legislator Pana Chand Meghwal sent his resignation to the chief minister.
“When we fail to protect the rights of our community... we have no right to remain in the post. After listening to my inner voice, I resign from the post of MLA so that I can serve the community without any position,” said Meghwal, the Baran-Atru legislator, in his resignation letter.