Dalit couple assaulted in MP, six cops suspended, probe underway
An inhumane incident reported from Guna in Madhya Pradesh has led to the suspension of six police officers, and the transfer of District Collector and Superintendent of Police. The event, which happened on Tuesday, pertained to the brutal assault of a Dalit couple by cops during an anti-encroachment drive. A heart-rendering clip surfaced on social media this week, infuriating everyone. Here's what went down.
A Dalit family was asked to evict land, they resisted
The ones who faced unparalleled police brutality are Ramkumar Ahirwar, 38, and his wife Savitri Devi, 35. The Dalit couple claimed to have leased a piece of land in Jaganpur Chak, on the outskirts of Guna, from one Gabbu Pardhi for farming. When cops tried evicting the couple and their kids, saying that the land was meant for a college, they naturally faced resistance.
Police remained adamant to destroy crops, couple attempted suicide
Reports said Ramkumar and Savitri requested for time, asking cops to wait till harvesting. Unperturbed, a bulldozer began razing the fields, prompting Savitri to consume pesticides. As a sign of protest, her husband followed suit as well. Videos from the day showed six young children clinging on to their unconscious parents while crying inconsolably.
Trigger warning: Disturbing visuals ahead
Ramkumar's brother Shishupal was also thrashed by police
According to police, when they tried taking the Dalit couple to the hospital, Ramkumar's younger brother Shishupal and other relatives blocked their path, "forcing them" to rain lathis on them. Somehow the couple was rushed to a local hospital, and they both are said to be stable. Reportedly, an attempt to clear the land in November was derailed by Gabbu Pardhi's family.
Congress slammed Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Nath called it "jungle raj"
The incident set stage for a political war of words, with Congress, which lost power in March, slamming Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Notably, Guna is BJP member Jyotiraditya Scindia's bastion, whose jump to the saffron party spelled doom for Congress. Ex-CM Kamal Nath said jungle raj has ascended in MP while suggesting that all disputes can be solved legally.
Rahul Gandhi also weighed in on the matter
हमारी लड़ाई इसी सोच और अन्याय के ख़िलाफ़ है। pic.twitter.com/egGjgY5Awm— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 16, 2020
In fact, Congress also gave money to the victim couple
Hoping to score some political points, Congress said it would send a seven-member team to the area. Some members of Congress met Ramkumar and Savitri at the hospital and handed over a cheque of Rs. 1.5 lakh. Meanwhile, accusing Congress of creating controversy unnecessarily, state BJP President VD Sharma denied any caste angle, adding that the dispute was essentially between illegal occupants and authorities.
Top officials were transferred after outrage
Taking cognizance of the matter, Chouhan's government transferred District Collector S Vishwanathan and Superintendent of Police Tarun Nayak on Wednesday. Before being shifted out, Vishwanathan said the government had sanctioned Rs. 12 crore for the college's construction. A delay would have meant shifting the institute to some other district, he argued. A high-level probe has been ordered by Chouhan, Home Minister Narottam Mishra informed.
Six police officers were suspended, IG transferred as well
On Thursday, six cops, including sub-inspector Ashok Singh Kushwah; constables Rajendra Sharma, Pawan Yadav, and Narendra Rawat; and women constables Neetu Yadav and Rani Raghuvanshi, were suspended. In fact, IG (Gwalior Range) Rajababu Singh was also transferred but it wasn't immediately clear if this decision also stemmed from the incident. IE said Singh was moved out in connection to upcoming by-polls.