Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday blamed the RSS and Bharatiya Janata Party's politics after three Dalit boys were paraded nude and assaulted for swimming in a village well in Wakadi village.
"The sole crime of these Dalit children was they were taking a dip in a well. Humanity is struggling to save its dignity," Gandhi tweeted today.
He said if we don't raise our voices against this politics of hate and poison of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and BJP, history would not forgive us.
Gandhi's comments on the issue, which has snowballed into a major political controversy, came even as a high-level team of Maharashtra Congress visited the village to assess the situation.
Strongly condemning the outrage on the Dalit boys, Union Minister for Social Welfare Ramdas Athawale said he will visit the village to meet the victims and their families.
On June 10, three minor Dalit boys were stripped, beaten and paraded nude in Wakadi village here for allegedly swimming in a village well.
The incident served as a major embarrassment for the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine even as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is on a tour of Dubai, Canada and the US to attract investment.
When some locals learnt of it, a large number of people, including many from upper castes, gathered near the well and pulled out the boys.
They were shouted at and subjected to abuses before some persons allegedly forced the boys to strip and paraded them nude around the village.
On videos, the boys can be seen wearing only sandals and some patvelia leaves and they protested when at least one person was assaulting them on the legs and back with sticks and what appeared to be a leather belt.
At least two persons have been arrested in connection with the incident, said Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dilip Kamble.
After much cajoling the boys and their families reluctantly lodged a complaint with the police. But as pressures increased on them to withdraw their plea, the family members attempted to blame their children (the three boys) for their indiscretion in the matter.
Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said on Thursday night that the well belonged to a Ishwar Joshi and his servant Sonu Lohar had assaulted the boys.
Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said two persons are booked under the provisions of Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Information Technology Act, besides other charges.
(with IANS inputs)
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