Dalit Man Beaten to Death for Asking for His Wages in UP's Sultanpur

The killing of Vinay Kumar (18) has sparked outrage in Baramadpur village of Sultanpur district. Police are yet to arrest all the accused named in the FIR.

New Delhi: A Dalit man was killed in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur, allegedly for asking for his wages. According to the victim’s family, he was brutally beaten resulting in his death.

While the incident took place on August 25, the family of the deceased is yet to receive the postmortem report.

The deceased, Vinay Kumar (18), sought his wages from the accused, Digvijay Yadav, for whom he worked for over four days. Instead of paying Kumar his wages, Yadav allegedly attacked him, leading to his death.

Speaking to The Wire, Kumar’s brother, Sher Bahadur, said, “He [Kumar] was killed because he belonged to the Dalit community.”

Bahadur said his brother was brutally attacked, pointing to the injuries on his body. “Examining his head, I am convinced he was struck with a deadly weapon. The intent was unmistakable, they had no intention of letting him survive,” says Bahadur.

According to a first information report (FIR), Kumar set out on his bicycle from his home to collect his wages from Yadav around 3-4 pm on August 25. However, he never returned home. The family received the news of Kumar’s hospitalisation late in the evening. He had already passed away by the time his family reached the hospital.

The following day, on August 26, based on Kumar’s father, the FIR was filed at Akhandnagar Police Station. A case has been registered under Section 302 (Murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The FIR names both Yadav and another unknown person as accused. While Yadav has already surrendered to the police, the second accused is yet to be arrested.

According to Kumar’s family, he was the youngest child in the family. He had done odd jobs to make a living. Days before he died, he was working hard to earn money to buy gifts for his sisters on Rakshabandhan.

His family recalls Kumar’s life as one of relentless struggles, marked by his unceasing efforts to meet his daily needs. Despite the odds, he never gave up, they say. The family is now devastated by his untimely death, and that he had been killed due to his caste.

Kumar’s death has sparked outrage in his native Baramadpur village in Sultanpur district. A candle march was organised, demanding justice for Kumar’s family and against caste violence. The protestors demanded a government job for Kumar’s kin.

Protest in Baramadpur village in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh against the killing of a Dalit daily wager. Photo: By arrangement.

“Our call for justice for this family remains steadfast, and we shall not be silenced. We will persist in amplifying their voice. It is imperative that we challenge the entrenched casteist mindset that perpetuates the devaluation of certain individuals,” social activist Vivek Sultanvi told The Wire.

The activist expressed disappointment at the role played by the Uttar Pradesh Police. “Why hasn’t the police yet apprehended the unidentified individual [accused] mentioned in the FIR?”

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Uttar Pradesh carries the dubious distinction of recording the highest number of crimes against Dalits. Out of more than 1.9 lakh crimes against Dalits recorded by NCRB between 2018 and 2021, Uttar Pradesh accounted for the lion’s share, with 49,613 cases of atrocities against Dalits. In 2018, 11,924 cases were recorded, 11,829 in 2019, 12,714 in 2020, and 13,146 in 2021.