Image Courtesy: Twitter/ Pratik Joseph, Saurabh Sharma
Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district on Tuesday booked 286 people, including the father of a 15-year-old Dalit boy who died during treatment on Monday after allegedly being thrashed by his teacher for committing a mistake in an exam earlier this month, for rioting and obstructing officials from performing their duties, Hindustan Times reports.
On Monday night, widespread violence broke out in Achalda village soon after the death of Nikhil Kumar, who was a class 10 student at Adrash Inter College on Phaphund Road. The protesters blocked the road near the college, police said.
The young boy, Nikhit Dohre, faced this brute casteist assault on September 7 by his social science teacher, Ashwini Singh, allegedly because he spelt a word incorrectly during an exam reported several media outlets including Outlook. The victim’s father has alleged that Singh, purportedly belonging to an “upper caste”, unleashed the thrashing on the minor youth with sticks and rods, and even kicked him until he fell unconscious.
In a police complaint, the boy’s father has alleged that the teacher beat him with sticks and rods until he fell unconscious after he spelt a word wrong in the social science test, 20 days ago.
The district police have now turned their power against the father and protesters. Claims of violence are being made. “They also set afire two police jeeps and stoned police personnel,” a senior police officer said, requesting anonymity. Protesters, including the boy’s family, earlier refused to cremate the body until their demands of the arrest of accused teacher Ashwini Singh and monetary compensation were met.
Amid protests, police put up barricades at several areas in and around Achalda village and did not allow the local market to open in the morning. Senior police officers — including additional director general of police, Kanpur zone, Bhanu Bhaskar and inspector general of police, Kanpur range, Prashant Kumar — along with divisional commissioner of Kanpur Raj Shekhar also rushed to the village and stayed put for the night.
According to media reports, on Tuesday morning, Auraiya district magistrate Prakash Chandra Srivastava and superintendent of police Charu Nigam met the boy’s family members and assured them of ₹8 lakh compensation under the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act, of which ₹3 lakh was to be paid up front. In addition, a house and a piece of land on lease were also promised to the boy’s family, the DM said, adding he would “also write to the government to provide a government job to a member of the deceased’s family”.
Speaking to the family members, SP Charu Nigam said the police have conducted raids at six places to arrest the teacher. “I assure you, he will be arrested and sent to jail soon,” she said. However, no arrest has so far been made.
Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, the body was finally cremated outside the village after the family received a cheque of ₹3 lakh as ex gratia compensation.
Meanwhile, a first information report (FIR) was registered at the Achalda police station against 36 named villagers, including the deceased boy’s father Raju Dohrey, and another 250 unnamed people for rioting and preventing officials from discharging their duties, said SP Charu Nigam.
According to the FIR, a copy of which was accessed by Hindustan Times, all 286 people have been booked under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 427 (mischief causing damage), 436 (mischief by fire or any explosive substance), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act.
“None of us have created any trouble nor do we want any trouble,” the boy’s father Raju Dohrey told reporters. “I just want justice for my son. Police should act sternly against those who created trouble after my son’s death.”
Earlier on Monday, September 26, members of the Bhim Army demanded ₹50 lakh compensation for the family, a government job, two acres of land on lease, and trial of the case in a fast-track court.
Nikhil Kumar died during his treatment at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Saifai, where he was shifted to in a critical condition on Saturday night. His father, Raju Dohrey, has alleged the 15-year-old was thrashed by accused teacher Ashwini Singh in class over a mistake in a social science test on September 7. He also alleged that the teacher passed casteist remarks at him and his family.
However, the college’s vice-principal, Sudesh Kumar, claimed the boy had been suffering from a kidney ailment for long. “The teacher had punished two students on September 7 for their mistakes but it hasn’t come to light that they were assaulted. Nikhil’s father had come to school on September 22 and had an argument with the teacher outside the classroom,” Kumar said. “Thereafter, he lodged an FIR against the teacher on Saturday night with Achalda police. The Police took statements of students in class on Monday morning.”