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Bharat bandh: Dalits allege police harassed protesters

The activists claimed that police intentionally registered cases against Dalits to harass them.

jaipur Updated: Apr 08, 2018 21:47 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times, Barmer
Rajasthan news
Protestors during the Bharat Bandh in Rajasthan on April 2. (HT Photo)

Dalit activists in Barmer have alleged that police harassed the protesters who were taken into custody for participating in the April 2 Bharat bandh.

The nationwide bandh was called by Dalit organisations to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling that, they say, dilutes the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.

The activists claimed that police intentionally registered cases against Dalits to harass them, and demanded that investigation be handed over to an agency outside Barmer.

“Dalit organisations called a peaceful bandh. Some anti-social elements entered the march and instigated people, after which it turned violent,” said Laxman Badera, a Dalit activist.

“Despite tracing the elements who instigated the violence, police are unnecessarily harassing Dalits, due to which community people are living under fear,” Badera said in a statement.

He said a delegation of Dalit leaders has met union minister Arjunram Meghwal, SC/ST commission member Yogendra Paswal, Rajasthan assembly speaker Kailash Meghwal, and additional home secretary Deepak Upreti to demand a fair probe.

Badera alleged that three Dalits suffered fractures after they were beaten up in police custody. “All are admitted to hospital. Barmer police have kept them isolated to hide their inhuman act; no one is allowed to meet them,” he alleged.

Barmer police chief Gagandeep Singla said family members were allowed to meet them, but admitted that they have been kept isolated to avoid any unwanted situation.

Barmer district collector Shivprasad Nakate and Singla told reporters that they have held meetings with social organisations and communities, and assured them that no action will be taken against innocent people.

“Action will be taken against only those who have taken law in their hands and caused disturbance to law and order situation during the Bharat bandh on April 2,” Nakate said.

The officials refuted a social media post that some some organisations have called a bandh on April 10. Singla said 60 people have been arrested in connection with the April 2 bandh and 17 cases registered at police stations in the district.

First Published: Apr 08, 2018 21:47 IST