The Madhya Pradesh police have booked 15 forest officials, including a ranger, for allegedly killing a Dalit man in Fatehpur village of Shivpuri district amid confusion over the sequence of events leading to the death on Sunday.
While forest officials claimed that the incident took place when a team went to clear encroachment, the victims’ family members alleged that caste abuses were hurled at them when water accidentally splashed onto a ranger who came to fill his water bottle at a pump they were also using.
The Karera Police have picked up several suspects based on a complaint from Saroj Balmiki, the wife of deceased Madan Balmiki. In her complaint, Saroj said her daughters were filling water from the hand pump in the village when forest ranger Suresh Sharma hurled abuses at them. She alleged he sent female staffers which lead to a scuffle that brought their 38-year-old father to the spot. She alleged that the ranger shot at her husband.
Shivpuri SP Rajesh Chandel said the allegations about caste abuse were not true. He said the victim’s father was posted at Madhav National Park and that he stopped reporting for work.
The victim was cremated on Monday.
Park director Mohan Meena claimed that the forest team had gone to the spot to clear encroachment by the victim.
He claimed several of those named in the complaint were not on the spot at the time of the incident. He said when the team reached to clear the encroachment, they were subjected to stone pelting. He added that they would lodge a cross-complaint against Madan’s family members and other villagers involved in attacking the forest department team.
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