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TENSION GRIPPED Sultanpur’s Ramnathpur village after a 47-year-old Dalit labourer was allegedly beaten to death by miscreants belonging to the “upper caste” on Friday morning. Three of his family members, including a pregnant woman, were also injured in the attack.
On Sunday, police detained one person for questioning in connection with the case. Five people who have been booked are absconding. Police said the violence was sparked by a dispute between a Dalit family and an upper caste one that had been going on for the past week. Superintendent of Police, Sultanpur, Amit Verma has suspended Station Officer Nirbhay Singh of Jaisinghpur police station on account of negligence. Heavy police force has been deployed in the village, which has a majority population of Dalits.
Circle Officer (CO), Jaisinghpur, Dharmendra Sachan, said that on July 12, Jitendra, younger son of the deceased, Ramjeet, was going to the market when accused Mastram’s brother Rakesh Upadhyay (25) stopped him and demanded Rs 2,000 to buy liquor. When Jitendra refused to give him the money, Rakesh allegedly abused him. Later, Rakesh went to Ramjeet’s house and demanded money from his elder son Manje (20).
The situation took an ugly turn when Rakesh started abusing Manje too for not giving him money. Irked, Manje and a few of his family members thrashed Rakesh. Rakesh, who sustained severe injuries, is still undergoing treatment at the district hospital, said the CO. Later in the day, an FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by Rakesh against Ramjeet and his two sons Jitendra and Manje on charges of voluntarily causing grievious hurt and criminal intimidation at the Jaisinghpur police station. No one was arrested.
Angered over the attack on Rakesh, his family members reached Ramjeet’s residence on the morning of July 14 and started abusing them, said the CO. Armed with sticks, they attacked Ramjeet, his wife Sumita (42), his son Manje (25) and Manje’s pregnant wife Antima, and fled. A local informed the police, who rushed to the spot and sent the victims to the local community health centre, where doctors declared Ramjeet dead. His injured family members were referred to the district hospital for further treatment.
The same day, Ramjeet’s cousin Dhruv Raj filed a complaint against five persons including Rakesh’s brothers Mastram, Mahantram, relatives Sanchit Upadhyay, Ankit Upadhyay and Arun, on the basis of which an FIR was registered on various charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder and the SC/ST Act.
Since the FIR was initially registered on charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Dalits in the village refused to conduct final rites of Ramjeet and kept his body outside his home. Village head Bharat Ram Nishad said, “They staged a protest and refused to conduct the final rites till the case was altered to add murder charges. On Saturday, the district magistrate and superintendent of police visited the village and assured them that murder charges would be added and accused would be arrested soon. On Sunday, the final rites were performed.”
SP, Sultanpur, Amit Verma confirmed that after Ramjeet’s death, the charge of murder had been added to the FIR. He further said that Ramjeet’s son Manje had suffered two fractures in his hands during the attack, and the condition of the other two victims was stable. “A departmental inquiry is on,” he added.