A Dalit boy’s death in Rajasthan after his teacher allegedly assaulted him for drinking water from a pot meant for “upper castes” threatens to turn into a political crisis for the ruling Congress.
Besides drawing fire from the Opposition BJP, the Ashok Gehlot government is also facing the heat from within its ranks.
Panachand Meghwal, Congress MLA from Baran-Atru, has sent his resignation to the Chief Minister, saying he is deeply hurt by the death of the nine-year-old student. Also, Congress leader Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion in the past had threatened to topple Mr Gehlot’s government, will visit Jalore district today to meet the boy’s family.
Nine-year-old Indra had suffered injuries on his eye and ear after his teacher allegedly thrashed him for drinking water from a pot those from upper castes used. Following the July 20 incident at a private school, he was taken to a hospital in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad. There, he died last week.Police have arrested the teacher and charged him with murder and under provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The FIR registered in the case says Indra was “naive and did not know that the pot had been kept aside for the teacher from the upper caste”. “Teacher Chail Singh told the boy, ‘You are from a lower caste. How dare you drink water from my pot!’. He then thrashed him,” the FIR says.Speaking to the media, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had said he has instructed officials to ensure swift probe into the case. “Justice will be ensured to the victim’s family at the earliest,” he had said, announcing an assistance of ₹ 5 lakh.
Targeting the state government, the BJP had said the child’s death is shameful. “When will Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra suggest Mr Gehlot to ensure justice for Dalits in Rajasthan,” the state BJP had tweeted.In a fresh setback, Congress MLA Meghwal has announced his decision to step down, flagging caste crimes in the state.
The MLA has said in his resignation letter that only files are moved in the name of investigation into such cases and added that police had not acted swifty even after he raised the cases in the Assembly. “When we cannot safeguard the rights of our society and ensure justice, we have no right to continue in this post,” he added.
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