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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Two Dalit minors beaten to death for ‘open defecation’ in MP

The two victims – 10-year-old Avinash Balmiki and his female relative, 12-year-old Roshni Balmiki – lived in Bhavkhedi village, about 20km away from the district headquarters of Shivpuri.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2019 23:44 IST
Ranjeet Gupta and Shruti Tomar
Ranjeet Gupta and Shruti Tomar
Bhopal/Shivpuri
Two children from the Dalit community were allegedly beaten to death by two men for defecating at a spot close to the house of the attackers in a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district on Wednesday morning. (Representative Image)
Two children from the Dalit community were allegedly beaten to death by two men for defecating at a spot close to the house of the attackers in a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district on Wednesday morning. (Representative Image)(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
         

Two children from the Dalit community were allegedly beaten to death by two men for defecating at a spot close to the house of the attackers in a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district on Wednesday morning, the police said.

The two victims – 10-year-old Avinash Balmiki and his female relative, 12-year-old Roshni Balmiki – lived in Bhavkhedi village, about 20km away from the district headquarters of Shivpuri.

They went to defecate around 5.30am at a spot near the house of the two accused, brothers Hakim Yadav, 35, and Rameshwar Yadav, 40, said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

The men saw the children, allegedly clicked photos of the minors on their phones, and then attacked them with lathis, added the officer quoted above. The two children, both students at the village primary school, were rushed to a hospital where they were declared dead.

Superintendent of police (SP), Shivpuri, Rajesh Chandel said a first information report (FIR) was registered against the two accused under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“The accused have been arrested. Police are investigating the matter and also trying to know if the murder is related to superstition or untouchability,” he added.

Avinash was one of three children of Manoj Balmiki while Roshni was one of eight children of Kalla Balmiki, who is also Manoj’s father.

Kalla and his five sons live in separate houses and only his house has a toilet. The village was declared open defecation free (ODF) last year.

“They killed my son deliberately. They [the Yadav community] didn’t like us since we stopped working in their agricultural field due to low wages,” said Manoj Balmiki, alleging that the men had threatened and abused them a few months ago.

Shrilal Yadav, father of Hakim and Rameshwar Yadav, said the former was mentally ill. “My elder son Rameshwar was implicated under false charges,” he added. Manoj and local activists rejected the claim.

Manoj said he had asked the village chief for a toilet under the government scheme but was told that his name didn’t appear in the list of beneficiaries. This was corroborated by village chief Suraj Yadav.

“An inquiry will be conducted into allegations regarding toilets and action would be taken against the responsible officers on the basis of inquiry report,” said chief executive officer, district panchayat, HP Verma.

Activists condemned the crime. “This is a heinous act. I visited the village. Neither of the accused is mentally unstable. Several villagers told me that they were completely fine. We demand tough action against authorities who refused to provide a toilet to the family,” said Shivpuri-based activist Ravi Goyal.