A Dalit youth was thrashed and made to lick spit-laced slippers showered in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district.
Coming close on the heels of various atrocities on Dalits in Madhya Pradesh, the incident has been widely condemned.
The youth, Rajendra’s only ‘fault’ was that he had gone to check on the electrical power meter at a relative’s home in the hamlet of Baldih in the Shahganj area (Ghorwal block). When a contractual employee of the electricity department, Tejbali Singh, got wind of that, he immediately descended upon the hamlet to teach the youth a lesson.
On July 6, the youth was thrashed for almost three hours and abused. The linesman was undeterred by the fact that many people were filming the incident and the videos went viral later on bringing the incident to light late on Saturday evening. After dark when the thrashing stopped, the victim was made to lick slippers on which Singh had spit.
When the police finally got details of the incident, they got the youth over to the local police station to file an FIR so that action could be initiated. The terrified youth initially refused to report the matter but did so after much coaxing.
The circle officer of Ghorwal said, “The perpetrator has been positively identified. His disgusting, inhumane act has been filed as a police report. He has been arrested”. He also admitted that the incident was brought to light only because of social media.
When contacted, Rajendra refused to say anything beyond that he feared for his life. “I cannot afford enmity with the high caste, powerful people”, he said.
The DGP of UP has issued strict instructions for appropriate action to be taken against the accused who has been terminated from his services.
This is not the first instance that Dalits have been assaulted in the state. In August 2022, Shakti Mohan, the headman of Tajpur village (Muzaffarnagar) humiliated, slapped and hit with slippers a young Dalit man who had dared circulate a WhatsApp message criticizing the headman’s manner of carrying out his official duties.
Since 2018, UP has consistently topped the list of states which report the most crimes against Dalits.