Karnataka: Dalit Man Assaulted for ‘Touching’ an Upper Caste Man's Motorcycle

While the local police have registered a complaint under the SC/ST Atrocities Act, a counter case has also been filed against Kashinath Talwar.

New Delhi: A Dalit man was thrashed by a mob, allegedly as he had “touched” a two-wheeler vehicle of an upper caste man in Karnataka’s Vijayapura district.

According to the New Indian Express, Kashinath Talwar, a 28-year-old daily wager was going to work with his father in Minajgi village in Vijayapura on Saturday. A group of villagers thrashed him, accusing him of merely touching a motorcycle that was owned by an upper-caste person, which was parked near Chennamma Circle, says the complaint filed by Talwar’s father Yankappa.

A video that has surfaced on social media shows a crowd raining blows on the man, as others hold him.

Yankappa stated that the crowd also assaulted him and his son’s wife and daughter when they tried to rescue Kashinath. “The men used offensive words against our caste and threatened to set our community houses on fire,” Talwar stated in his complaint, which has been registered at the Talikoti police station.

The local police have registered a complaint under the SC/ST Atrocities Act, but no arrests have been made yet. Thirteen people had been named in the complaint, NDTV reported.

A Karnataka police officer Anupam Aggarwal said that the villagers also filed a counter-FIR against Talwar.

“When an investigation team reached the site of the incident today, they were told that he was beaten up when he took out his clothes and started showing his private parts to two girls who were washing clothes. We have registered a counter case under section 354 of the IPC,” he told NDTV.

In several cases, counter-FIRs are filed by the police to force victims of caste atrocities to either back down or come to a compromise. Writing for NewsClick, Parth M.N. reported recently that in Beed town of Maharashtra, after a Dalit woman filed a complaint against a lawyer for physical and sexual abuse, a counter-FIR was registered against the victim within hours.

The lawyer’s wife accused three men and the Dalit woman of attempting to gangrape her. The three men named in the FIR helped the Dalit woman file her complaint, one of them was a local journalist. “This counter FIR is to harass us for the help we extended to the woman,” the journalist said, according to the report.

The Dalit woman said the lawyer, an ‘influential man’ in the town was offering to withdraw the complaint if she withdraws her’s. “I am being pressured,” she said.

Recently, many incidents of violence against Dalits have been reported in the media. Last Friday, reports said a 27-year-old Dalit man was killed by six upper caste men in Gujarat. Pintu Galchar, a resident of Ravi village in Dhanera taluka of Banaskantha district was allegedly abducted from outside his house by a group of six men around 10 pm on July 16. He was later found dead, with his body showing gruesome injuries.

In Madhya Pradesh’s Guna, a Dalit couple died by suicide after the police destroyed their crops as part of an ‘anti-encroachment’ drive. Visuals of the couple’s children holding their dead bodies and weeping were flashed on television screens across the country, causing outrage.

In June, a report said that since the imposition of the coronavirus lockdown, caste atrocities had increased nearly fivefold in Tamil Nadu.