A 42-year-old Dalit was on Wednesday tonsured and paraded through a village in Sonbhadra district’s Raipur area by locals, who suspected him of having burnt the “holika” pyre on Tuesday night.
Seven persons, including the village headman, have been arrested. With Holi to be celebrated on Friday, PAC personnel have been deployed in the village to maintain calm.
“On Tuesday afternoon, some persons took away a tatari (thatched curtain) from the victim’s house. He and his son objected and this led to verbal argument. The victim was also abused because of his caste,” said Raipur Station Officer Sunil Singh.
Late at night, unidentified persons lit the holika — a ritual observed on the eve of Holi. On Wednesday, when villagers found that the holika has been burnt two days ahead of Holi, they became angry. Recalling Tuesday’s argument with the Dalit man, the villagers concluded that he was the one who had set the holika afire. Following this, they reached his home and paraded him through the village after tonsuring him, police said.
When police reached the spot and tried to take the victim to the police post, the villagers refused. Subsequently, senior officers arrived at the village with adequate force. The victim was then taken to the police station, where he got an FIR lodged against seven persons by name and dozens of unidentified persons.
All the seven have been arrested and booked under the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” said Singh. Sonbhadra SP Shiv Shankar Yadav said though the situation is under control, security will remain deployed in the area.