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BHOPAL: A Dalit couple who allegedly attempted suicide on seeing a JCB machine crush their standing crop was brutally assaulted by the police in Jagatpur Chak area of Guna district on Tuesday.
A video that went viral on social media showed the police beating the man with batons severely. The incident took place on July 14.
Ramkumar Ahirwar has been practising cultivation on a piece of land in Guna which is reportedly owned by the State government. The Guna administration had ordered the setting up of a Model College on that piece of land. According to local media reports, there were previous attempts made to vacate the land. But the administration had been unsuccessful in laying the foundation stone so far.
The alleged police brutality didn’t end there, as the couple’s kin who tried to save them too were assaulted by cops. The police then went on to abuse and pushed away the helpless kids of the couple.
The Madhya Pradesh government had allotted the 20 bighas public land for construction of a Model Science College two years back, but the land had been encroached upon by the Dalit family, which claims to have been farming on it for a long time.
Indian Express reported , Ram Kumar’s wife Savitri Bai said they’ve been farming on the land for years. “We don’t know whose land it is, we’ve been farming on it for a long time. If our standing crop is destroyed, we don’t have any other option but to kill selves. We have a debt burden of Rs 3 lakh on our heads – who will pay it, the government or anybody else.”
The Dalit voice tweeted , “A Dalit family in Guna MP tried to commit suicide in front of the police administration. Raju and Savitri requested the police not to run JCB on their crops. After police refuse to stop they drink the pesticides. Their children are seen crying.One of the child sat on the mother’s chest and one young boy is holding his father. This incident is only reported by one hindi news portal Patrika. This is not Yemen, this is India. Pradhanmantri Awaas Yojana, Jan Dhan and all these fancy policies never touch these families.”
The Quint report says ,Rajkumar and his wife were immediately shifted to the nearest government hospital and the latter is said to be critical. Meanwhile, the police have registered FIRs against Rajkumar, his wife Sabitri and other locals present at the spot. Among other charges, Section 353 of the IPC (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, Section 309 of the IPC (Attempt to suicide) have been added to the FIR.
As per report of Indian express : Guna district collector S Vishwanath said, “We’ve probed the entire episode and checked the entire footage of the incident. Our team had to act only after the couple consumed pesticide and had to be rushed to the hospital. Had the team not acted, the couple could have died and more such cases could have taken place. The action was also essential as some others present on the spot were hell-bent on making the incident even more serious, but our priority was to rush the couple to the hospital. The couple is now out of danger”.
The opposition Congress state spokesperson Narendra Saluja condemned the incident.
“If there was any dispute pertaining to the land, it could have been resolved as per law instead of the police assaulting the Dalit family and their kids. If the state government is so committed to removing encroachments from public land, then it should get public land cleared from big and influential encroachers. Was the family attacked only as it was Dalit and poor? The Congress will not stay silent, but raise the issue vigorously till the culprits are punished,” he said.
Former MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath took a dig at CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan alleging him of running a “jungle raj” in the state.
After facing massive flak on social media, the Guna SP and the Collector, who had ordered the eviction drive and defended police action, were removed from their posts on Wednesday, 15 July.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, in a tweet, said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the matter.