Dalit beaten to death by upper caste youth for denying them a matchbox in Scindia’s pocket borough Guna

After being thrashed with sticks, he received multiple injuries on his head and stomach and died while being taken to a hospital in Gwalior

Dalit beaten to death by upper caste youth for denying them a matchbox in Scindia’s pocket borough Guna

Kashif Kakvi

Denying a matchbox to upper caste youths to light a cigarette cost a Dalit his life in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district, the parliamentary constituency of former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, on Friday evening.

According to Bajranggarh police, the incident occurred in Karodh village, 30 km away from the district headquarter, when the deceased, Laljiram (50), a farm labourer, was resting on a platform in the village with other villagers after the day's work. Cousins Ankit Yadav (18) and Yash Yadav (20), who are also the residents of the same village, sought a matchbox from Laljiram to light their cigarettes, but he reportedly responded that he didn’t have one.

This evidently irked the youths who accused him of lying. They exchanged heated arguments and hurled caste based abuses at Laljiram. The situation turned ugly when Laljiram too abused them back. Losing their cool, the duo attacked him. Ankit rushed to his home and brought sticks to ‘teach him a lesson’, said CSP Guna Neha Pacchisiya who supervised an enquiry into the incident.

Subsequently, they launched a vicious attack on the Dalit man in front of the entire village, leaving him unconscious and his clothes ensanguined with blood. “They attacked him so harshly that his skull was broken and his kidney was damaged. He was beaten to death for just denying a matchbox to the attackers,” said Pacchisiya.

Soon after the incident, the duo escaped from the spot even as villagers rushed the victim to Guna district hospital which is 30 km away from the village.

He received multiple injuries on his head and stomach and was in a critical condition when villagers brought him to hospital, said Bajranggarh police station in charge Narendra Goyal. Sensing his critical condition, the doctors at the district hospital immediately referred him to Gwalior, which is 226 km away from the district. But the victim succumbed to his injuries on the way to Gwalior, he said.

The Bajranggarh police, which had already registered a case against Yash and Ankit on charges of Attempt to Murder (Section 307 of the IPC) and relevant sections of the SC/ST Atrocities Act 1989, later added murder charges in the FIR and arrested them.

“Both the eighth class passed youths, who worked with their family on their own farm lands, have been arrested and sent to jail. We have also recovered the stick which was used to beat the victim. A probe is on,” said Goyal.

As per the provisions of SC/ST Act Atrocities 1989, the district collector’s office has granted Rs 8.25 lakh to the deceased’s wife Leela Bai. The district administration also gave the family ex-gratia payment of Rs 20,000 for cremation of the body, district public relations officer, Ashok Dwivedi said.

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