Dalit kids on hunger strike for 22 days, seek probe into father’s death
Khetaram Bheel was found dead on the outskirts of Aasada village on May 4. The family alleged that he was murdered, but police claimed that it was an accidental death.Updated: Jun 23, 2017 23:11 IST
Four dalit children, supported by their family, were demonstrating for the past 22 days outside the Barmer collectorate, demanding police investigation into their father’s death.
The family went on hunger strike from Wednesday.
Khetaram Bheel (30) was found dead on the outskirts of Aasada village on May 4. The family alleged that he was murdered, but police claimed that it was an accidental death.
After Khetaram’s father Prabhu Ram lodged an FIR at the rural police station in Barmer on May 4, police filed the case under section 302 (punishment for murder) of IPC and 3(II)(V) of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Khetaram’s father Prabhu Ram (65), his mother Leela Devi (62), wife Lehari Devi (28) and his four kids -- Fuli (8), Bhikha Ram (6), Kabbu (3) and Riksha (1) -- started demonstrating outside the collectorate on June 2.
The family members alleged that they were forced to take this step after police took no action for a month. On June 21, the family, including minor kids, started hunger strike. After Leela Devi’s health worsened, a medical team from the Barmer government hospital treated her.
Family members warned that they will not end the strike till they get justice. Many dalit organisations suppoted the dalit family.
“Police are intentionally ignoring justice,” said Dalit Aadiwasi Sangarsh Samiti convener Danaram Waghela. “Though the case was filed about two months back, police have not started a fair investigation.” Apart from justice, Waghela said, they are demanding financial aid to the family under the SC/ST Act.
Waghela warned that the demonstration would continue till police start investigation. “Every day, two members of the community will join the hunger strike.”
Barmer MP Col. Sonram Choudhary, Urdu Academy chairman Ashraf Ali Khilji, BJP legislator from Chohtan Tarunrai Kaga and former Barmer MP Harish Choudhary met the victims and assured them justice.
First Published: Jun 22, 2017 19:56 IST