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Published On: Thu, Jul 16th, 2020

Outrage over Dalit farmers’ suicide attempt after police beating

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Guna DalitBHOPAL: The videos and pictures of the cruel incident shook Twitter, leaving netizens’ hearts crushed. Taking to their respective handles on the micro-blogging site, the Twitterati poured out rage and sorrow.
Police brutality continues to amp up despite the corona virus pandemic and the latest incident of a Dalit farmer and wife beaten mercilessly before their children in Guha, by Madhya Pradesh police is proof of the same
Adding to the heartless treatment meted out to the couple, their crops were destroyed by the police after which the farmer and his wife drank pesticide leaving the children wailing over their bodies.
An online video showing half a dozen police officers dragging and beating the couple with sticks to evict them from government-owned land in central MP state has been viewed more than 1 million times since it took place on Tuesday.

The couple consumed pesticide moments after the eviction and were rushed to hospital, S. Vishwanath, head of the local administration, told a news conference late on Wednesday, hours before he and the police chief were removed from their posts.
The eviction was part of a drive to stop encroachment on land and the area the couple was farming had been allotted for the construction of a college, said a policeman who declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

India banned discrimination based on caste – a system which divided Hindus into groups based on occupations – in 1955. But centuries-old biases against lower-caste groups persist, making it harder for them to access education, jobs and homes.

A growing population and rising pressure on land to build homes, highways and industry is triggering conflicts, with lower-caste citizens often facing eviction, particularly in rural areas where biases are most entrenched, campaigners say.

Almost half of India’s lower-caste population is landless, according to census data. Several states have laws aimed at giving land to Dalits but few have produced results, according to Dalit activists and leaders.
“They were begging the police to not destroy their crops as they were in debt … but the police did not listen to them,”  “The Dalits in MP are one of the most backward people and they do not own farming land”.
After this incident the district collector and the Superintendent of Police of Guna district in Madhya Pradesh were removed from their positions late night on Wednesday.
In a series of tweets, former MP chief minister and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath condemned the incident and said, “ Where is this Shivraj Singh government taking us? What kind of Jungle Raj is this? Look at the way a Dalit farmer couple has been attacked inhumanly by the policemen.
If there was a dispute regarding government land, it could have been solved through legal means. But what kind of justice is it to take the law into hands and thrash him, his wife, his relatives, and his innocent kinds? The culprits should be punished strictly or else the Congress won’t keep silent.”
(With Bureau Report).

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