Dalit teenager found dead in Haryana

Dalit teenager found dead in Haryana

Days after two Dalit children were burnt to death in a village in Haryana, the police in Gohana, barely 70 km from New Delhi, have been accused of killing a Dalit teenager detained on charges of stealing four pigeons and two mobile phones.

The incident triggered protests after the family placed the teenager’s mortal remains on the road while refusing to cremate the body until the accused policemen, both of the rank of a sub-inspector, are put behind bars. They also blocked rail traffic.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, however, defended the police while hinting that the teenager, Govinda (14), could have committed suicide as suggested by the preliminary indications of the post-mortem report. The accused policemen, Subhash and Ashok, have been placed under suspension. A case has been registered.

A resident of Gohana, Lal Singh, had accused the Dalit boy of stealing his pigeons and mobile phones.

Govinda’s brother produced the teenager before the police for a probe on Wednesday. A day later, Govinda’s body was found in an empty house next to his residence and there was blood stains on the floor.

The police said the boy ran away from the police station on the pretext of drinking water. The family rubbished the claim.  Gautam, the brother of the deceased, accused the police of torture leading to Govinda’s death. He also said the cops demanded a bribe of Rs 10,000.  Govinda’s mother said she went to the police station to give him some food but they told her that her son had escaped. His dead body was found the next day, she added.

Meanwhile, Khattar said two families in Gohana had a dispute which was resolved in the police station. Khattar further defended the cops saying the Dalit boy was not questioned by the police.

The incident has drawn widespread criticism with Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking the chief minister to ensure safety of Dalits.

Beyond the Mirchpur episode in Haryana, incidents of atrocities on Dalits has increased in the state.

As per statistics available with the national confederation of Dalit organisations, Haryana has witnessed a 271 per cent increase in violence against Dalits over the past decade.

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