3 held for thrashing Dalit youth for taking part in Swabhiman rally

first_imgThe Neemuch police on Monday arrested two Rajput men for allegedly thrashing a Dalit youth for taking part in a rally calling for an end to caste discrimination on November 3. “While one of the accused was arrested earlier, another is absconding. We have declared a reward of ₹5,000 for anyone informing the police about his whereabouts,” said Rakesh Kumar Sagar, district Superintendent of Police. Although the incident occurred on the night of November 3, the day Rahul Meghwal took part in a Dalit Swabhiman rally (rally for self-respect), he went to the police only on November 7. “I was scared initially. They had threatened to kill me if I filed a complaint,” Mr. Rahul, a resident of Ratadiya village, 15 km from Neemuch, told The Hindu. “I have never had to face even a slap. But that night, the four men, who were my friends, thrashed me on my back with lathis.”A Bachelor of Science graduate, Mr. Rahul, 23, runs a news portal — Malwa 24 News, and his coverage of the rally was well appreciated by members of his community. While thrashing him at a village on the outskirts of Neemuch, the accused hurled casteist slurs on him and told him: “Weren’t you jumping a lot in the rally? You don’t have the status to be our equal. Don’t you know about our clout in this area?” At 8 p.m. on November 3, Mr. Rahul was called to a dhaba by his friend Yogesh Singh, who was arrested on Monday. There, he helped stop a scuffle between Kapil Meghwal, of his own village, and Yogesh, who later asked for a joyride on Mr. Rahul’s motorcycle, but fled with it, according to the First Information Report. Yogesh called him to the Dushera ground, where, along with three others, he snatched his two mobile phones when Mr. Rahul refused to give him Mr. Kapil’s address. Then they forcibly took him to an empty spot near a village. “I shouted for help all along the way,” said Mr. Rahul. “And there they thrashed me for hours.”Then, Arjun Singh, also arrested, took out “something resembling a gun” and put it to his head, threatening to kill him if he went to the police, said the FIR. Mr. Rahul returned home at 4.30 a.m. the next day.Father threatenedThe four also threatened Mr. Rahul’s father against filing a complaint. But as things came to a head on November 6 when they were threatened again, Mr. Rahul, district incharge of the Bhim Army, approached its State leadership. “He was initially reluctant about complaining against upper caste men as they had threatened him. But we told him not to worry about consequences,” said Sunil Astay, State in-charge, Bhim Army. “His own friends turned enemies when it came to caste.”last_img

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