Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh: A young Dalit woman, nine months pregnant, and her unborn child died allegedly after being brutally beaten up by the police in the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh. The incident took place late on Sunday night in the Mankapur locality of the Asandra police station area in Barabanki district.
Family members of 22-year-old Ruchi, who belong to the scheduled caste Rawat community, alleged that armed police dragged her from their house and beat her badly with wooden sticks, including on her stomach, until she died on the spot. The police persons who thrashed Ruchi were there to investigate illegal alcohol production and decided that she was hiding liquor in her belly, said family members.
The police, denying the allegation, stated that the young woman died of a heart attack. Locals who were witness to the incident said that a police party raided Ruchi’s house in search of country-made liquor on Sunday night. After the raid, scared male members of the family ran away from the house but Ruchi, in the last days of her pregnancy, was unable to escape. The police thrashed her outside the house, beat her with wooden sticks and kicked her on her stomach, they said.
The incident was brought to the attention of top police and administrative officials, but no FIR has been lodged regarding the death of the Dalit pregnant woman. Talking to The Wire, Faizabad IG Rajiv Prakash said, “According to a Supreme Court ruling, an FIR cannot be lodged against any public servant before the matter is probed, so the probe has been ordered. If police persons are found guilty, then they will be booked.”
Arvind Rawat, Ruchi’s husband, said that he works in a local poultry farm and neither him nor his family members are involved in the making of country liquor. “In our village, no one is involved in this illegal business. Only on a suspicion the police raided our house. We were scared of the khaki uniforms, so we hid ourselves and ran some distance. When we heard Ruchi shouting, then we and other villagers rushed to the spot, but by then they had killed my wife. After Ruchi died, the policemen fled,” he said.
Susheel Singh, circle officer of Ram Sanehi Ghat police circle, the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred, said, “We have arrested three persons from the village on charges of making country liquor. We got news that some woman has died and locals are alleging the police party killed the woman.”
This incident comes two weeks after Savitri Devi, also a pregnant Dalit woman, was beaten for accidentally ‘touching’ a bucket belonging to an upper caste Thakur woman in UP’s Bulandshahr district. Savitri and her unborn child died on October 21, six days after the upper caste woman and her son beat the Dalit woman. The local hospital had refused to treat Savitri when they saw that she had no external injuries.