NINE DAYS after he was allegedly beaten up and forced to drink urine, Jagmale Singh (37), a Dalit labourer of Changali Wala village in Sangrur district of Punjab, succumbed to his injuries on Saturday.
All the four accused — Amarjeet Singh, his son Rinku, and the latter’s friends, Lucky and Binder — have been arrested. The four, all residents of the same village, had reportedly targeted Jagmale following an altercation on October 21. All of them belong to the Jat Sikh community.
“We arrested Amarjeet, Rinku and Lucky on November 14, while Binder was arrested on November 15. On questioning, they claimed that the victim had abused them,” said Sangrur SSP Sandeep Garg. The four accused have been booked for murder and under the SC/ ST Act.
According to Jagmale’s statement to the police, as quoted in the FIR, he was taken to Rinku’s house and beaten up on November 7. “I was tied to a pole for two-three hours. Beeta alias Binder had a stick in his hand, Rinku was holding my arms, while his father Amarjeet was carrying a small rod. They beat me up mercilessly… When I asked Rinku to give me water, he went to the bathroom, urinated, and made me drink his urine,” Jagmale said in his statement.
According to the FIR, the medical report noted that the injuries were caused by a blunt weapon.
“On October 21, my husband had an altercation with Rinku, Binder and his friends. However, the matter was resolved. But on November 7, Rinku, Binder and Lucky took my husband to Amarjeet’s house and beat him up,” Jagmale’s wife, Manjeet Kaur (32), told The Sunday Express. The couple have three children — a 15-year-old son and two daughters aged 9 and 6 years.
“He was tied to a pole and beaten up. His legs were broken after being hit with rods and sticks, and injuries were inflicted with a screwdriver. Acid was poured on his injuries. When he asked for water, he was forced to drink urine,” alleged Jagmale’s nephew, Gurdeep Thandiwal.
After being beaten up, Jagmale was reportedly left on a street near his house. He remained at his house for three days. On November 10, as his condition deteriorated, he was taken to a nearby hospital. “Police came to know about the incident on November 10, when Jagmale was taken to hospital,” said SSP Garg.
Jagmale gave his statement to the police on November 13, and a case was filed.
Jagmale, meanwhile, was first shifted to Rajindra Medical College, Patiala, and later to PGIMER, Chandigarh, where his legs were amputated on Friday. “The victim came to PGI on November 13. The doctors amputated both his legs as the infection had spread… Subsequently, his vital organs also got infected,” said an official at PGIMER.
“A couple of years ago, Rinku had beaten me up as well… Both my arms were broken… I am still not able to work properly,” said Jagmale’s brother, Gurtej Singh.
“Police are taking action against the culprits. The Department of Welfare of SCs and BCs gives Rs 8.25 lakh as compensation in such cases,” said DC Ghanshyam Thori.
The Zamin Prapati Sangrash Committee, an organisation which fights for the rights of Dalits, has demanded Rs 25 lakh as compensation to Jagmale’s family and a government job for his wife. “Atrocities against Dalits are continuing, as the upper caste people are not punished… We will block the Jakhal-Sangrur highway on Sunday if the government is not ready to give in to our demands,” Mukesh Malaud, president of the organisation, said.
“We are shocked to hear about the incident… we recommend financial help to the family,” Tejinder Kaur, chairperson of the Punjab SC/ST Commission said.