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New Delhi: The death of a nine-year-old Dalit boy after he was allegedly beaten up by his school teacher for touching a drinking water pot in Rajasthan’s Jalore has spurned a spate of resignations from the Congess party, with one MLA and 12 councillors stepping down over atrocities against the Dalit community.
Congress MLA from Baran-Atru Pana Chand Meghwal on August 15 sent his resignation to Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, saying he doesn’t have the right to remain a legislator if he can’t protect his community.
“When we fail to protect the rights of our community… we have no right to remain in the post. After listening to my inner voice, I resign from the post of MLA so that I can serve the community without any position,” said Meghwal, the Baran-Atru MLA, in his resignation letter.
Even though the country is celebrating 75 years of independence, atrocities against Dalits and the other deprived classes continue, he said.
“I am hurt looking at the atrocities. I cannot express my pain in words (at) the way my community is being tortured,” he said.
Dalits are being killed for drinking water from a pot, sporting a moustache or riding a mare during a wedding. The judicial process is stalled and case files are passed from one table to the other. Cases of atrocities against Dalits have been on the rise in the last few years. It seems there is no one to protect the rights granted to Dalits by the Constitution, he added.
“In most of the cases lodged by Dalits, the police submit the final report. I have raised such cases in the state assembly many times but no action was taken by the police,” Meghwal rued.
The nine-year-old Dalit boy, Indra Kumar, was allegedly beaten up by his school teacher for touching a drinking water pot in Jalore on July 20. He died during treatment at a hospital in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad on Saturday. The accused teacher, Chail Singh, 40, has been arrested. The state government has announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh for the victim’s family.
12 councillors resign
Twelve Congress councillors from the Baran Municipal Council on Tuesday sent their resignation letters to Gehlot, expressing anguish over atrocities against the Dalits.
The Congress has 25 councillors in the Baran civic body. Ward No.29 councillor Yogendra Mehta said they sent their resignation letters in support of the MLA and against the government’s failure to protect the Dalits. The other councillors who sent their resignation letters are Rohitashva Saxena, Rajaram Meena, Rekha Meena, Leeladhar Nagar, Hariraj Erwal, Piyush Soni, Urvashi Meghwal, Yashwant Yadav, Anwar Ali, Jyoti Jatav and Mayank Mathodia, he said.
They will submit copies of their resignation letters to the Kota divisional commissioner on Wednesday, Mehta added.
Meanwhile, the nominated councillor of the Kota’s Itawa civic body Suresh Mahawar also sent his resignation letter to the chief minister.
Before heading to Jalore, Pilot said, “Such incidents need to be strongly condemned. We need to put a check on such incidents. Only laws, speeches and actions are not enough. We will have to give them a strong message that we are with them in order to instil trust in them.”
The Congress leader condemned the politicisation of the issue, calling it inappropriate whether it is done by the BJP or his own party.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra announced financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the Dalit boy.
Dotasra along with women and child welfare minister Mamta Bhupesh, PWD minister Bhajan Lal Jatav and disaster management and relief minister Govind Ram Meghwal visited the boy’s home at Surana village in Jalore.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (RSHRC) took suo moto cognisance of the death of the Dalit boy in Jalore and issued notices to the district collector and the superintendent of police. The RSHRC asked them to submit reports on the matter on August 26.
RSHRC chairman Justice G.K. Vyas will visit Jalore on Tuesday.
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission chairman Khiladi Lal Bairwa arrived in Jalore on Monday.
(With PTI inputs)
Note: This article was originally published at 5:19 pm on August 16, 2022 and republished at 7:40 pm on the same day with additional information.