Dehradun: 45-year-old Dalit man reportedly beaten to death in Champawat district, Uttarakhand, by members of the ‘upper caste’ after he was found eating at a wedding with ‘everyone’ , but not separately – in violation of current caste norms. locally.
The victim’s family alleged that the man was physically tortured for several hours before being transferred to Lohaghat hospital and from there to another hospital in Haldwani where he died.
Champawat police recorded a murder case and added various relevant articles of the SC / ST (Atrocity Prevention) Law. An FIR (First Information Report) has also been registered against unknown persons, but no arrests have yet been made.
After registering the case on the basis of the victim’s wife, Champawat SP, Devendra Pincha, said Thread, “We are looking at all angles of the case. Images of the wedding party have been viewed and guests on site are being interviewed. “
The SP added that the victim was invited to the wedding ceremony. Local police had previously interviewed the family of Dungar Singh, who had arranged the wedding, but the family denied allegations made by the victim’s family, the police official added.
In the FIR accessible by ThreadRamesh Ram’s wife, Tulsi Devi, said her husband ran a tailor shop in Kedarnath village in Devidhura. The store, a rented place, is owned by Dungar Singh. He had attended the wedding on November 28 at Singh’s invitation, she told the FIR.
When Ram did not return home at night, his wife called him on his cell phone, which was picked up by an unidentified person who said her husband was at a wedding party and would be heading home. him the next morning, the FIR said.
In the morning, Tulsi Devi received another call when a person on the other end of the phone told him that her husband was unconscious and that he would be taken to hospital. “In the morning, my son also received a call from an ambulance driver who told him that my husband had been admitted to a hospital in Lohaghat and that we had to go there,” she added in the FIR.
On the morning of November 29, when the family rushed to Lohaghat Hospital, they saw Ram lying on the ground unattended. Doctors later referred him to a hospital in Haldwani, FIR noted.
“We were all too shocked to see my father’s condition. He had traces of injuries everywhere. As he was taken to Haldwani in the ambulance, he told me he was beaten for eating with everyone, ”Ram’s teenage son Sanjay said.
At Haldwani Hospital, doctors performed tests and a CT scan before declaring him dead on November 29.
According to the victim’s wife, he was tortured for eating with everyone at the wedding. “I’m sure my husband was mercilessly tortured the whole night of November 28 – the wedding night – and then sent to Lohaghat hospital the next morning without notifying us,” Tulsi Devi told FIR.
The victim’s daughter, Rakhi, also alleged torture at the hands of Dungar Singh’s family. “My father was beaten to death by people for serving food at the wedding party himself. Family involvement [Dungar Singh’s] it’s clear … they kept hiding facts. The family had called an ambulance to send him to Lohaghat hospital, but did not tell us what exactly happened to him.
Meanwhile, Pithoragarh-based Dalit activist Kamal Kishore, who provides support to the victim’s family, suspected something gravely sinister in Ram’s death and described it as a case of caste violence.
Kishore said: “The body of the victim showed signs of injuries which indicate beatings. In addition, the suspects did not notify the victim’s family and called an ambulance to rush him to Lohaghat hospital. This clearly shows that something very serious had happened the night before. It is a shocking case of caste-based violence. “
The activist also added that the autopsy, which is still awaited, will reveal further details on the cause of death. “We are awaiting the autopsy report which would tell us the cause of death and the exact nature of the injuries sustained by the victim. But in the meantime, local police must question the ambulance driver who called the victim’s family and also the man who called the family to say that Ramesh Ram was not well and would be returning home. the next day.
Caste-based violence on the rise in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand’s scenic hills are often referred to as ‘Devbhoomi’, but the region has a dark underbelly due to rampant caste discrimination and widespread caste-based violence.
In Uttarakhand, Rajputs and Brahmins together make up 60% of the state’s population while Dalits constitute around 19%. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, incidents of caste-based violence rose from 58 in 2018 to 84 in 2019, a 45% increase in just one year. In other words, it is the fifth highest increase in the country and well above the national average of 7% increase.
At the village level, caste discrimination in marriage ceremonies of “upper caste” families is not uncommon in Uttarakhand. Dalits, if they are invited to such weddings, are given food separately to prevent them from mingling with other guests from the upper castes. Over the years, there have been several instances where rabid people from “upper castes” have resorted to violence if a Dalit is found eating in their sight.
This widespread caste discrimination also affected the family of Indian hockey player Vandana Kataria. In August this year, when the Indian hockey team lost to Argentina at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, upper caste men popped crackers outside his family home in Roshnabad, Haridwar district, and hurled caste insults at Kataria’s family. They attributed India’s defeat to having “too many Dalit players” in the squad.
In another horrific incident, a Dalit was beheaded in Bageshvara in 2016 for using a flour mill in front of upper caste men.
According to Bhaskar Das, a Dalit intellectual and social worker based in Dehradun, caste discrimination is a permanent feature of local mountain society. “Violence against Dalits is on the rise in Uttarakhand. The main reason for this is the carefully cultivated hatred among the younger generation of the upper castes against people from the lower castes and against the reservation system. We cannot imagine a situation, even today, where an upper caste man would not be enraged at the sight of a lower caste person eating at a wedding. Thus, one can imagine how deeply rooted notions of caste are in some people of higher caste. “