A day after a Congress MLA sent his resignation in protest of the death of a Dalit boy, 12 Congress councillors in Rajasthan's Baran Municipal Council on Tuesday sent their resignation letters to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
They expressed anguish over atrocities against the Dalits and backed party MLA Pana Chand Meghwal, who had sent his resignation on Monday. These resignations come after a nine-year-old boy was beaten by his teacher in Jalore district after he drank from a pot meant for upper castes. The boy later succumbed to his injuries from the beating.
Congress leader and former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Tuesday headed to Jalore to meet the victim’s family and said a strong message needs to be given to win the Dalit community’s trust.
Meanwhile, backing Meghwal's move, 12 of the 25 Congress councillors in the Baran civic body expressed anguish over atrocities against the Dalits and deprived sections. Ward No. 29 councillor Yogendra Mehta said they sent their resignation letters in support of Meghwal and against the government’s failure to protect the Dalits.
The other councillors who sent their resignation letters are Rohitashva Saxena, Rajaram Meena, Rekha Meena, Leeladhar Nagar, Hariraj Erwal, Piyush Soni, Urvashi Meghwal, Yashwant Yadav, Anwar Ali, Jyoti Jatav and Mayank Mathodia, said Mehta, adding that they will submit copies of their resignation letters to the Kota divisional commissioner on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, nominated councillor of the Kota’s Itawa civic body Suresh Mahawar also sent his resignation letter to the chief minister.
Before heading to Jalore, Pilot said, "Such incidents need to be strongly condemned. We need to put a check on such incidents. Only laws, speeches and actions are not enough. We will have to give them a strong message that we are with them in order to instil trust in them."
Pilot also condemned the politicisation of the issue, calling it inappropriate whether it is done by the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or his own party.
Meanwhile, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra announced a financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the Dalit boy. Dotasra along with Women and Child Welfare Minister Mamta Bhupesh, PWD Minister Bhajan Lal Jatav and Disaster Management and Relief Minister Govind Ram Meghwal, visited the boy's home at Surana village in Jalore. He said the financial assistance with be given by the party.
In his resignation letter, MLA Meghwal said, "When we fail to protect the rights of our community, we have no right to remain in the post. After listening to my inner voice, I resign from the post of MLA so that I can serve the community without any position."
He said even though the country is celebrating 75 years of Independence, atrocities against Dalits and the other deprived classes continue.
"I am hurt looking at the atrocities. I cannot express my pain in words (at) the way my community is being tortured," said Meghwal.
Dalits are being killed for drinking water from a pot, sporting a moustache or riding a mare during a wedding, said Meghwal, adding that the judicial process is stalled and case files are passed from one table to the other. He further said that cases of atrocities against Dalits have been on the rise in the last few years and tt seems there is no one to protect the rights granted to Dalits by the Constitution.
"In most of the cases lodged by Dalits, the police submit the final report. I have raised such cases in the state assembly many times but no action was taken by the police," rued Meghwal.
The accused teacher Chail Singh has been arrested. Outlook on Monday reported that he has been charged with murder and sections of the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
"My son, a student at Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Jalore, a private school, in third class, was beaten up by his teacher Chail Singh because he drank water from an earthen pot meant for upper castes. The teacher abused my son and hit him on eyes and ears and abused him with casteist slurs," said Dewaram Meghwal, father of the boy, to Outlook.
He further told Outlook, "My son would have been alive today had he known that the pot he is drinking water from was meant for the upper castes. He wanted to quench his thirst but he lost his life instead. He was killed because of the prevailing caste discrimination."
Earlier, Gehlot took cognizance of the incident and assure timely justice.
“The death of a student due to being beaten by teacher in Rajasthan's Sayla Police Station limits is unfortunate. The accused teacher has been arrested and has been charged with murder and SC/ST Act,” said Gehlot on Twitter in Hindi.
He added, “The case has been taken under case officer scheme to process it quickly and for early punishment of the guilty. Justice at the earliest will be ensured to the bereaved family. The diseased boy’s family will be given Rs 5 lakh from the CM Relief Fund.”
(With PTI inputs)