SC/STs suspect foulplay in Dalit maid's death

 A case of the suspicious death of a Dalit girl, followed by threats by a rich landlord’s family for whom she was working prior to the death, came to limelight at the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes monthly grievance meeting at the City Police Commissioner’s office on Sunday.

Raising the issue, Dalita Hakkugala Samiti Secretary Lingappa Nanthur alleged that Leonel Mascarenhas, a landlord from N R Pura taluk in Chikmagalur district who owns a house at Shiv Bhag in Mangalore had threatened the parents of Shobha (23), who had died seven months ago at the house of Mascarenhas, of dire consequences if they do not withdraw the complaint filed in Kadri police station against them.

Shobha, daughter of Sesa and Saroja from Shirlalu village in Belthangady taluk, was serving as maid at the house Mascarenhas in Mangalore from one and half years. The parents of Shobha received a call from the landlord on March 6 informing that their daughter was unwell and she was given the medicines. Next day morning when the Dalit couple arrived at Mangalore, the landlords family refused to allow them to meet the girl.

“The parents were initially informed that the girl was admitted to Father Muller hospital and she underwent treatment. But it was only later in the evening that the owners informed the couple that their daughter had died and her body was in Wenlock hospital mortuary, for the utter bewilderment of the couple,” said Lingappa Nanthoor.

He complained that though the post mortem report suggested that the death was natural, the way in which the girl had died was unnatural. The authorities of Father Muller hospital too have denied of having admitted the victim in their hospital.

Though a complaint was registered with this regard in Kadri police station, the chemical report has not yet arrived and the case has not been probed, he said. Lingappa also alleged Leonel Mascarenhas of threatening the poor couple of attacking them if they do not withdraw the complaint they have filed in the station. When the couple asked for compensation, Mascarenhas has rejected to give compensation and has told them that he had the backing of top police officers.

Replying to the complaint, Police Commissioner Manish Karbikar ordered for a detailed investigation into the case.

Cylinder theft

Sukumar P, owner of Mangalore Indane Gas Distributors alleged the police for not taking the theft complaints filed by him seriously. He said LPG cylinder worth over Rs two lakh were robbed from his godown in Padil four times in the last three months.

“Despite having filed complaints and given the registration number of the vehicle used for robbery to the Kankanady rural police, they have not yet caught the culprits. In my godown, I also store the cylinders that are seized by Pandeshwar police during the raids. With no protection for the godown and inaction of the police, I would not store the cylinders belonging to the police any more,” he said.

Dalita Sangharsha Samiti leader S P Anand complained the police for abruptly closing Dalit cases by filing B reports. “The police close most of the cases by filing B reports and the Dalits do not challenge it in the court as they are not rich enough to fight cases in the court. This trend should be stopped and the cases should be investigated properly,” he demanded. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Mutthuraya was present.

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