Boys paraded naked for bathing in farmer's well

Boys paraded naked for bathing in farmer's well

Two minor boys from a backward community were allegedly beaten up and paraded naked in a village in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district for swimming in a well that belonged to a person of a different caste, police said today. Screen grab

In a shocking incident, three teenaged Dalit boys were paraded naked and beaten up for swimming and bathing in a well at a farm owned by another family at Wakadi village in the Jamner taluka of Jalgaon district of north Maharashtra. The incident took place on Sunday.

However, on Thursday evening, after smartphone clips of the dastardly act went viral on the social media, there was a public outrage.

People across party lines and from all sections of the society said that it is a matter of regret that it takes place in Maharashtra, which takes pride in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Jyotirao Phule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

The incident comes as a major embarrassment to the Devendra Fadnavis government.

A video that went viral reveals that the boys, who were from Matang caste, were naked but were covering themselves with tree branches and leaves. Abuses were hurled at them and they were being beaten up by a belt and a stick.

Revenue, Relief & Rehabilitation Minister Chandrakant Patil said that action is being taken. "I have personally spoken to the Collector and Superintendent of Police," said Patil, who holds charge of the state as Fadnavis is on an official trip to Dubai, Canada and the United States.

Two persons have been arrested in the connection and stringent action is being taken, he said, adding that the well is owned by one Ishwar Joshi, who is from the Nomadic Tribe community. "His servant Sonu Lohar mainly beat them up," he said.

Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan said that two persons have been booked under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Information Technology Act.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Special Assistance Dilip Kamble said that no one would be spared.

However, both Mahajan and Kamble said that from the initial information that they had gathered, it appears that a group of boys used to come and bathe in the well at the farm, the water for which is being used for drinking purposes.

"Strict action is being taken," Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and chairman of the State Commission for Agriculture and Prices Pasha Patel said that such incident pains him. "Its horrible," he said.

'Kids at fault'

The parents of the kids said that their children were at fault. "In fact, despite warnings they had gone there... they should not have gone there," the parents told local TV channels.

However, to a query on whether they are under any kind of pressure, they replied in negative.

Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani said that the incident has shaken him equating it with the 2016 Una incident.

"How can we behave like this as humans," asked Mevani, adding that this is a repeat of the Una incident wherein seven members of a Dalit family were allegedly beaten up by a group of gau rakshaks for skinning a dead cow in Una town of Gir Somnath district in Gujarat, in July, 2016. He also said he does not expect justice from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.