Police have booked three people for allegedly hurling casteist abuses at a Dalit man after refusing to give him a haircut when he visited their shop in Dangarthal village in Niwai in Tonk district on Tuesday.
According to the FIR, the incident took place on Tuesday when Kalu Harijan went to Nandkishore Sain’s shop in the village for a haircut. “Sain at first demanded Rs 500 from me for a haircut. After a while I was ready to pay even that. Following that he refused to cut my hair and drove me out of his shop saying that I was from a low caste and he won’t cut my hair. He hurled casteist abuses at me,” alleged Harijan, who works as a labourer. He claimed that when he went to other salons in the village, they too refused to cut his hair.
“Sain told me that he is the president of all haircut shop owners in Dangarsal and nobody would cut my hair. After he abused me and shoved me out, I went to several other shops but none of them were ready to have me as a customer,” said Harijan.
An FIR has been lodged against Sain and his two sons under Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC and Sections of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.
“We are investigating the matter… It is to be seen whether the complainant was misbehaved with because of his caste or the dispute happened over maintaining social distancing standards,” said Anjum Kayal, circle officer, Niwai, and the investigating officer in the case.
Dalit rights activists have demanded that the accused be arrested. “The victim was misbehaved with only because of the fact that he is a Dalit. The state should come out with a separate budget to spread awareness against caste discrimination. It is extremely unfortunate that even today, a Dalit man ends up being roughed up and abused with casteist slurs simply because he went to get a haircut,” said Tara Chand Verma, state coordinator, Rights Resource Centre.