2 Dalit Children Beaten to Death For Defecating in Public in Madhya Pradesh

Police have arrested two brothers.

New Delhi: Two Dalit children were beaten to death by a group in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district on Wednesday, September 25, for defecating in front of a panchayat building. Police have arrested two brothers for the crime, Indian Express has reported.

The incident took place in Bhavkedhi village in the morning, Sirsod police station inspector R.S. Dhakad told PTI. The children and the two accused brothers, Hakim Yadav and Rameshwar, were from the same village. The brothers have been arrested under the IPC section for murder and provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities), reported News18.

The two children have been identified as 12-year-old Roshni and her nephew, 10-year-old Avinash. Dhakad was quoted as having said that the two had suffered serious injuries and were taken to the district hospital where doctors declared them dead.

Avinash’s father, Manoj Valmiki, was quoted by Express as having said that the Yadavs had scolded the children earlier too for defecating out in the open. Valmiki does not have a toilet at home and also told the paper that the Yadavs had old enmity with him.

Madhya Pradesh was declared ODF on October 2, 2018, by then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, a full year before its ‘deadline’ on the same date this year. As Guna MP, Congress’s Jyotiraditya Scindia had then raised questions on the status. Madhya Pradesh now has a Congress government under Kamal Nath.

Inspector General (Gwalior Range) Rajababu Singh, however, told Express, that Hakim Yadav was mentally unstable and that the incident did not have anything to do with defecation in the open.

Also read: Is India Really 96% Open Defecation Free?

India’s ODF status has in the past year been talked of as imminent. It is also the prime focus of the NDA government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

The attack on the children came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked up an award from the Gates Foundation for leading the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, in New York. “One of the least talked about aspects of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was that the 11 crore toilets built under it had opened a new chapter of economic activity in rural India,” Modi said.

Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati has blamed both the BJP and the Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh for the misfortune of Dalits in the light of this incident of violence.

(With PTI inputs)