After a 9-year-old Dalit boy from Rajasthan’s Jalore district died at a Ahmedabad hospital on Saturday, family members alleged that the child died of an assault on July 20 by a teacher, who got infuriated upon seeing him drinking water from a pot meant for upper-caste people.
Police said the accused teacher has been arrested and booked for murder and under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. “We have registered an FIR under relevant sections, including murder (IPC) and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The boy’s postmortem will be conducted and a police team has been sent to Ahmedabad. Further investigation is being conducted,” said Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla.
“On July 20, my son Indra Kumar, a student of Class 3 at Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Jalore, was beaten up by teacher Chail Singh because he drank water from an earthen pot meant for Singh. My son didn’t know that the pot was meant for Singh, who belongs to an upper caste,” said Dewaram Meghwal, father of Indra and a resident of Surana village in Jalore district.
A complaint letter submitted to the Saila police station by the family on Saturday says that Singh beat up Indra while abusing him with casteist slurs for drinking water from an earthen pot meant for upper caste people. The letter adds that Indra had sustained injuries in his right ear and eye due to the beating by Singh.
Meghwal added that his son’s condition deteriorated and he had to be hospitalised. “There was bleeding from his ear and thereafter, he couldn’t move one side of his body. His eye was sore and we admitted him to hospitals in Jalore, Bhinmal, Udaipur before he was referred to Ahmedabad. My son passed away today [Saturday] afternoon. Caste discrimination is responsible for his death,” Meghwal told The Indian Express on Saturday.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in a tweet on Saturday said: “The death of a child due to the beating of a teacher at a private school in Jalore’s Saila police station area is sad. The accused teacher has been arrested and a case has been registered against him for murder and under sections of the SC/ST Act. The matter has been taken under the case officer scheme for speedy investigation and punishment for the accused. It will be ensured that the victim’s family gets justice at the earliest. The family members of the deceased will be given a relief amount of Rs 5 lakh from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.”
Earlier, Opposition BJP slammed the Gehlot government over the child’s death. “Who is responsible for this? Mr Chief Minister, a student from an underprivileged category is not safe in your rule. The aggrieved family should be helped and swift action should be taken against the accused,” tweeted state BJP president Satish Poonia on Saturday.