Atrocious! 23-Year Old Dalit Man Assaulted for Eating with Upper Caste Men, Loses Life

Written by SabrangIndia | Published on: May 7, 2019
Dehradun: In yet another outrageous incident, a 23-year old Dalit man was brutally beaten by a group of upper-caste men for ‘daring to eat with them’ at a wedding in Nainbagh tehsil on April 26. The victim, Jitendra Das, succumbed to his injuries on May 5 while he was undergoing treatment at Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital in Dehradun.

Dalit Man
Relatives of Jitendra Das with police officials at Dehradun’s Coronation Hospital where his post-mortem examination was conducted. | Photo Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Reportedly, Das took food from the counter for upper-caste people and sat on a chair near them which made the accused furious. According to the victim’s sister, Pooja Das, “It was our cousin’s marriage. My brother made the mistake that he took food from the same counter where upper-caste people were eating. He then sat on a chair next to them.” Further adding, Pooja said, “This infuriated them. Wo bole yeh neech jaati ka hai, humare sath nai kha sakhta. Khayega to maarege.” (He cannot eat with us as he belongs to the lower caste. If he eats with us then we will hit him.)

Grieving about her brother’s death, Pooja said, “My brother was the sole earning member of our family. What will we do now? The accused are threatening us to withdraw the case.”

After his death, his relatives and villagers staged a protest outside the Coronation Hospital in Dehradun, where his body was taken for a postmortem examination, demanding justice for Das.

A case has been registered against the seven accused, namely, Gajendra Singh, Soban Singh, Kushal Singh, Gabbar Singh, Gambhir Singh, Harbir Singh and Hukum Singh, under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Sandeep Khanna, a panchayat member who accompanied the victim’s family to Dehradun, said that the police took a very long time to register the case and had failed to make an arrest. “They deployed such a large number of police to stop us but they have failed to arrest a single accused,” Khanna said.

Narendra Nagar Circle Officer Uttam Singh said that they could not find any eyewitnesses in the case. “Further action will be taken after his post-mortem examination report is received,” the circle officer said.

Director General (Law and Order) Ashok Kumar said strict action will be taken against the accused.

Such barbaric incidents bring to light the horrendous conditions in which the minorities continue to live in India even today. Though constitutionally a secular nation, India is yet plagued with the evils of caste, class and gender discrimination.
Regrettably, the voiceless, the powerless and the vulnerable continue to live with fear and at the mercy of the powerful upper caste community. Furthermore, no political party has considered this to be of any significance and make it an election issue.

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