Fear of “objectionable video” going viral led Dalit youth to commit suicide, says family

Disconsolate parents and siblings of an 18-year-old Dalit youth who had committed suicide in the intervening night of Diwali agreed to cremate their son’s body after three days of protest at Hisar’s civil hospital when one of the five accused named in the FIR was arrested by the police.

The youth had hanged himself to death when his elder sister had gone out for a day leaving him alone at the rented house they both were sharing in Haryana’s Hisar city.

A written note by the deceased has reportedly been found from the premise and police have registered a case of abetment to suicide against five people hailing from the native village of the deceased. All the accused, save one, belonged to the dominant Jat community.

The deceased had been living with his sister in the city, away from his rest of the family members who live 30 km away in village Sayarwah, since he registered a case of sexual abuse against Joginder alias Maman of his village in September last year.

Joginder, in his mid-thirties, was arrested and sent to prison. He secured bail three months later.

The deceased’s family alleges that after Joginder’s arrest, they felt threatened by his family and relatives to make “compromise” in the case.

“The victim belonged to the backward Regar caste. His family migrated to this village two-three decades ago from Rajasthan which makes their status even lower than the normal Dalit castes of the village. Only two Regar families live in the village on the outskirts of the village,” says Rajat Kalsan, Dalit rights activist and the victim’s lawyer in the case.

Kalsan says that the accused took the young man with him on the pretext of giving him some work in the field but midway he forced himself upon him and sexually assaulted him.

When the victim’s sister spotted her brother in a painful condition she took him to the police station where an FIR was registered and he was medically examined.

Kalsan says that after the registration of the FIR, influential people of the village started pressurizing the family to withdraw the case, but the family didn’t back off.

The elder brother of the deceased says that he was even offered Rs 15-20,000 from the accused’s family to take back the case.

Seeing the pressure mounting the brother-sister duo left the village for Hisar and started living in a rented house.

Deceased’s sister says that her brother was too docile to speak up against his perpetrators openly but claims he had confided in her his fears of the consequences of confronting them.

“He told me that he had been sexually abused regularly by a bunch of village men for more than a year. And that the perpetrators used to threaten him that they would harm me (the sister) if he didn’t comply with their demands,” says the woman in her early twenties.

She adds that her brother was particularly worried about a “video” which his perpetrators had claimed to have made of him in “objectionable condition” with the perpetrators, which they constantly reminded him of making it viral if he didn’t agree with their demands.

She says that although the accused had not made any direct contact with her brother since they shifted to Hisar late last year, the fear of the video going viral was always at the back of her brother’s mind.

“He had to testify in court against Joginder in January next year. And he was very worried about it,” says the deceased’s elder brother.

Police have arrested Joginder but the family of the deceased’s says that all the culprits should be arrested, as they are equally responsible for their son’s death.

Kalsan says that police have acted swiftly in arresting Joginder but the chances of the arrest of other accused look bleak as they all, save one, belong to one community.

“Police think that arresting a bunch of men of Jat community from a single village could create a law and order situation hence they are treading cautiously at the moment,” he says.

Kalsan calls for the investigating authorities to do scientific investigation in the case by examining the data of the mobile phones of the accused.

“They might have deleted the alleged video by now. So the police should deploy scientific technology to check deleted video files from the accused’s mobile phones,” he adds.

Courtesy: twocircles.net



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