Uttar Pradesh: Dalit teen allegedly shot by upper caste men for praying at village temple

The incident took place in Domkheda village, Amroha district, 400 kms northwest of Lucknow

CasteImage Courtesy:justicenews.co.in

Violence against Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, even amid the lockdown, is still a reality in India, especially in its rural areas.

A teenaged Dalit boy was shot dead at his home in Uttar Pradesh’s Domkhera village in Amroha district, allegedly by youths of an upper caste family after he visited a temple in the village, The Telegraph reported.

Vikas Kumar Jatav (17) had visited the local Shiva temple on June 1, his father Om Prakash Jatav, a farmer, told reporters. The Telegraph reported that according to the boy’s father, a scuffle ensued after Vikas ignored the warnings of some upper caste members, including a boy named Horam Chauhan, who tried to stop him from praying at the temple on ground of his Jatav identity and continued to offer prayers at the temple. 

Dalit groups like Jatavs and Valmikis live on the periphery of the village and the upper castes, mostly Thakurs, live at the centre.

Om Prakash Jatav said, “After he had finished praying, several upper caste villagers thrashed him. We approached the police at the time but they refused to register an FIR. On Saturday night, Horam and three other youths from his family arrived at our home and dragged Vikas out. One of them shot him with a revolver and they all ran away,” The Telegraph reported. He added that this wasn’t the first time a Dalit had prayed at the village temple.

However, the in-charge of the local police station, Niraj Kumar, told reporters that primary investigations in the incident didn’t suggest any dispute related to a temple or untouchability. He said that according to investigations, the victim, the perpetrator and other youths were playing together in a field seven days ago when a fight broke out among them.

“Horam, who is 18 years old, did not return home after the playground quarrel. He came back on Saturday night, went directly to the home of Vikas, who was sleeping on the veranda, and allegedly shot him dead. We are trying to arrest all the accused,” The Telegraph reported him as saying.

Vipin Tada, Superintendent of Police, Amroha, said that a case has been registered against four people of a family on the basis of the father’s complaint and that the accused have been charged with murder and violation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, The Telegraph reported. He also said that Vikas’ body had been sent for a post-mortem.

Uttar Pradesh has always been in the top 5 states related to crimes against SC/STs. On October 21, 2019, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released a report on “Crime in India” with state-wise data on atrocities against scheduled castes from 2015-2017, Sabrang India had reported. Uttar Pradesh had the most number of complaints registered against SC atrocities – 8,357 in 2015; 10,427 in 2016 and 11,444 in 2017. Lucknow had the biggest share of registered crimes – 21.4% of the total complaints registered in metropolitan cities.


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