//Dalit mukhiya manhandled for sitting on chair

Dalit mukhiya manhandled for sitting on chair

Monday, July 10, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

AKARUAN (BHOJPUR): A sexagenarian Dalit mukhiya, Sughar Ram, was allegedly booed, heckled and manhandled by some upper caste youths while he presided over a special gram sabha meet at the Panchayat Bhavan in village Haswadih under the Akaruan panchayat on July 5.

The meet had been convened to cross-check the list of below poverty line (BPL) beneficiaries. "Saala Dusadh ho kar kursi par baithega? Tumhara shaan hum log mita denge (How dare you sit on a chair being a Dusadh? We will damage your dignity)," Ram quoted the upper caste youths as having told him.

Following the incident, the mukhiya in his torn cloths went straight to the Piro police station to lodge a complaint. However, the officer-in-charge of the police station refused to lodge his complaint. The following day, the mukhiya went to the police station again and submitted his complaint. However, no FIR has been lodged till date.

The officer-in-charge of the Piro police station, Ram Niwas, told this correspondent on Saturday that the FIR would be lodged within a day or two after conducting the preliminary investigation. He said that the case would be lodged under Sections 342, 323, 379 and 34 of the IPC and Section 3(X) of the SC/ST Prohibition Act.

Ram, a retired school teacher, said that the upper caste youths apparently became infuriated when they saw him sitting on a chair at the meet. Later in the day, when Ram went to the the Haswadih Mor to buy some vegetables, an upper caste youth again hurled invectives at him.

 When Ram asked the youth why he was abusing him, the youth manhandled him again, saying "Saala Dusadh ho kar…" Some locals, however, intervened and prevented the situation from turning ugly.

Ram said that the upper caste youths also prevented him from going to the police station. "Although the policemen received my complaint, no action has been taken against the guilty yet," he said. Ram had won the mukhiya's election on a reserved seat by a margin of over 125 votes.

He had secured 475 votes out of the 2,100 votes polled. Now he feels unsecured in the village which is dominated by the upper castes. In his complaint, Ram has accused former deputy mukhiya Abhay Kumar Singh, Sudhir Singh, Jawahar Singh and Bharat Singh of manhandling him.

Some upper caste natives of the village, including Sarvesh Singh, Markandey Kumar Singh and Rajesh Singh, however, said that the mukhiya is given due respect by one and all. They felt that the mukhiya was manhandled because some upper caste youths could not ensure the victory of their candidate as the deputy mukhiya of the Akaruan panchayat.

A section of upper caste residents told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity that the mukhiya was trying to include the names of only Scheduled Caste families in the list of BPL beneficiaries. They said that the upper caste youths wanted him to include the names of poor upper caste people as well in the list.