A Dalit teen was allegedly beaten to death by a mob of hundreds over a sexual harassment case filed by his sister in 2019 in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district, police said. His sister was also beaten and his mother was stripped naked when she tried to save her son from the attackers.
Nine people have been charged with murder and three will face charges under the stringent Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Act. Eight people have been arrested, informed Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Uikey.
The 18-year-old victim’s sister alleged some people were pressuring her to withdraw her case and this led to the attack on them.
“They thrashed him a lot. He couldn’t survive. Hume beparda kar diya. I was stripped. Then the cops arrived and I was handed a towel. I stood there in a towel until they got me a saree,” said the young man’s mother.
She said the mob also ransacked and vandalized their home. “None of the household items are left intact. Even the pucca roofs were broken,” she wept.
Then they went to another house in search of her other two sons.
The victim’s aunt said a mob barged into her house too and threatened her husband and children. “They would have killed my children and husband too. They even checked our fridge,” she claimed.
The situation remains tense in the village with heavy police force deployed after the incident.
The victim’s family performed his final rites after the district collector assured them of help under government schemes and informed them of the arrests, police said.
In 2019, the victim’s sister had filed a case against four men, accusing them of threatening and beating her. All four were arrested in the case that is now in the courts, said the police.
The incident triggered a political row in election-bound Madhya Pradesh, with the opposition Congress and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party slamming the BJP government. The ruling party said prompt action was taken and accused the Congress of adopting a selective approach on crimes.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said Dalit and tribal oppression continued unabated in Madhya Pradesh, which is due for polls this yearend.
He claimed the state has the highest rate of crimes against Dalits and that “the BJP has made Madhya Pradesh a laboratory of Dalit atrocities.”
State Congress chief Kamal Nath demanded financial assistance for the victim’s family and claimed the accused had links with the BJP.
Madhya Pradesh Minister Bhupendra Singh denied the allegations, claiming the crime was a fallout of a dispute. He accused the Congress of politicising the incident.
State BJP secretary Rajneesh Agrawal told PTI his party’s government acted promptly in the case whereas Congress governments didn’t even bother to take action in cases of Dalit atrocities in states governed by them.