'Distressed' by Dalit boy's death, Rajasthan Congress MLA resigns
Saddened by the demise of a nine-year-old Dalit boy in an alleged caste crime, Rajasthan MLA Pana Chand Meghwal sent his resignation to CM Ashok Gehlot on Monday. The Congress MLA said he doesn't have the right to continue if he cannot protect his community. This comes after the boy—allegedly thrashed by an "upper caste" teacher last month for touching his waterpot—died on Saturday.
- Rajasthan ranks third in atrocities against Dalits and Scheduled Tribes (STs), according to the National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) September 2021 report.
- Atrocities against the backward communities—comprising Scheduled Castes (SCs), STs, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs)—by the minority dominant castes are nothing new.
- They're a result of structural and physical caste discrimination since, as per Brahamanical beliefs, they were born into so-called "lower" castes.
Meghwal resigned from his post on Monday. "When we fail to protect the rights of our community...we have no right to remain on the post... I have raised such cases [atrocities against Dalits] in the State Assembly...but no action was taken by the police," he said. The MLA from Baran-Atru now hopes to serve the people of his community without any official post.
In a deeply emotional letter, Meghwal said that even though India is celebrating its 76th Independence Day, atrocities against Dalits continue. "I cannot express my pain in words, the way my community is being tortured," he added. Dalits are being killed for drinking water from a pot, sporting a mustache... There is no one to protect the rights of Dalits given by the Constitution."
A police probe is underway into the alleged murder of Indra Kumar, the nine-year-old boy, in Jalore district. While the police have not revealed a caste angle in his death, the family insists Kumar was assaulted due to his lower caste, reported The Indian Express. Rajasthan's Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission Chairman Khiladi Lal Bairwa—who previously rubbished the no-caste angle—reached Jalore on Monday.
Kumar, who was a student at a private school in the village of Surana, Rajasthan, reportedly died on Saturday. He was allegedly beaten by a teacher for touching a drinking waterpot meant for "upper caste" people on July 20. Chail Singh, the 40-year-old accused teacher, was arrested and charged with murder as well as violation of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.