Dalit law student Dilip Saroj has been horrifically beaten to death in Allahabad. Mercilessly assaulted by four men outside a restaurant in Colonelganj on Friday night, the Allahabad University law student died on Sunday night after slipping into a coma. Angered over Dilip’s killing, students aligned to the Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha (SYS) and the All India Students Association (AISA) took out a protest march on Monday and raised anti-government and anti-police slogans. They set fire to a bus and also laid siege to the house of District Magistrate Suhas LY, police said. Demanding immediate arrest of the culprits, the students also sought adequate compensation for the deceased student's family. A waiter at the restaurant, Munna Singh Chauhan, has been arrested and two policemen have been suspended.
The incident was set off apparently when some person’s leg touched Dilip’s leg at the restaurant. This first led to abuses and then all-out physical assault. A live video of the assault circulating on social media shows Dilip being beaten till he loses consciousness. One must gather a lot of courage to watch this video.
A basic perusal of the video and the news reports shows that Dilip’s death was not a result of some personal tussle. This barbaric incident has clear hints of a hate crime. Whatever weapons the assaulters could get their hands on, including sticks, bricks and chairs, they used on Dilip and his friends. Dilip was hit all over the body. Is this a part of a continuing series of hate crimes against Dalits, especially educated Dalits? The way the voices of Dalit youth are being supressed in UP, it makes one think that this attack is a result of politics of pressurising weaker sections.
A basic perusal of the video and the news reports shows that Dilip’s death was not a result of some personal tussle. This barbaric incident has clear hints of a hate crime. Whatever weapons the assaulters could get their hands on, including sticks, bricks and chairs, they used on Dilip and his friends
Dilip was studying law. Like every general student, he was also looking for a better future. His death came only because he was from a community which has been witnessing hate and inequality for decades.
Obviously, education would have increased his confidence and self-respect. A new generation of Dalit youth is determinedly struggling for this self-respect, as per the famous words of Baba Saheb Ambedkar—Educate, Agitate, Organise. Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ and his Bhim army is the result of this struggle for self respect in UP. This struggle is becoming deadly for Dalit youth. The more their struggle grows, the pace of violence against them increases. There has been enough attempts to break down their moral courage, unity and will to struggle. In this case, the recent incidents in UP is a matter of deep concern. Even after being the centre of Dalit politics, this has not been established as centre of Dalit’s self-respect.
Dilip cannot be given justice just by arresting a few people responsible for his death. Justice will come only when Dalit youth are assured of social respect, social justice and social equality.
Dilip was a LLB 2nd year student and hailed from Pratapgarh. No one in the Uttar Pradesh government has reacted to the gruesome killing which incensed the opposition parties. Efforts to speak to Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh, a legislator from Allahabad and spokesman for the Uttar Pradesh government, went in vain as he did not take calls.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has slammed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for the killing of the Dalit student. In a statement, she said the atmosphere in the country and the state had become "vicious and violent" due to the politics pursued by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
With IANS inputs.
Translated by Zaheeb Ajmal