Four Dalit youth hung upside down from tree, beaten on suspicion of theft
A video of the beating shot by one of the assailants went viral on social media, after which the district police arrested two persons in connection with the assault
In a shocking incident reminiscent of the Una Dalit beatings, four Dalit youth, including two minors, were hung upside down from a tree and mercilessly beaten by six persons allegedly over suspicions of stealing a goat and some pigeons at Haregaon village in Srirampur tehsil of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra on Sunday.
A video of the beating shot by one of the assailants went viral on social media, after which the district police arrested two persons in connection with the assault. The victims were rescued by locals and admitted to Srirampur Sugar Employees Hospital, where their condition is said to be stable.
The accused have been identified as Yuvraj Galande, Manoj Bodake, Pappu Parkhe, Deepak Gaikwad, Durgesh Vaidya and Raju Borage, and a case under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 364 (kidnapping) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including wrongful restraint, rioting, and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been registered at Shrirampur police station.
The FIR was lodged by one of the Dalit victims and states that all four persons were partially stripped, tied with ropes upside down, and assaulted by the accused, who were allegedly in an inebriated condition.
Ahmednagar Police in a statement said that the four youths were beaten up as the accused suspected they had stolen pigeons and goats. Ahmednagar SP Rakesh Ola said two of the accused have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Local villagers protested the assault and blocked the Shrirampur-Newasa road. Similarly, a shutdown was observed in the village on Sunday to protest the attack on the youngsters. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole condemned the beatings as a blot on humanity and demanded strictest punishment and immediate arrest of the culprits.
"Beatings like these are a result of hate being deliberately engineered and spread by the BJP for its political gain," he said. Congress spokesperson Mahesh Tapase strongly criticised the state government, alleging that it has failed to protect the Dalit community.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi president Dr Prakash Ambedkar tweeted a video of the assault and wrote, “Another day in Maharashtra, another caste atrocity. This video is from Shrirampur, Ahmednagar, where a Dalit youth is seen pleading his innocence with folded hands.
"Three Dalit boys were thrashed and each of them hung upside down by a group of 4 men on suspicion of theft of pigeons. It is absolutely unquestionable that this incident is a caste atrocity and it was because of the caste system that the Dalit boys were treated so brutally.
Would anybody else have been beaten similarly on suspicions of theft?"
Later in the day, Ambedkar posted another tweet saying, “Victims of caste atrocities in Srirampur, Ahmednagar are scared. They want justice. I spoke to one of the victims and his grandmother on the phone. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi and myself have assured aaji (grandmother) that we will do everything to get justice in this matter .”
Srirampur Rural police station in-charge Dasharat Chaudhary told National Herald that the two arrested have been remanded in police custody until 30 August.