Rajasthan Dalit Boy Death: My Son Wanted To Quench Thirst But He Lost His Life, Says Boy's Father

My son wanted to have water but he lost his life due to caste discrimination, says father of the Dalit boy who allegedly died after his teacher assaulted him.

A Dalit boy died after his teacher allegedly beat him for drinking from a pot meant for upper castes

A nine-year-old Dalit boy from Rajasthan’s Jalore district died on Saturday after he was allegedly beaten by his teacher for drinking from an earthen pot meant for people from the upper castes.

The incident happened on July 20, following which the boy was hospitalised for treatment, and he succumbed to his injuries on Saturday afternoon, according to the police complaint lodged by the family.

Dewaram Meghwal, father of the boy, told Outlook that his son studied in third class at Saraswati Vidya Mandir, a private school, in Jalore. He said that his son wanted to quench his thirst but he instead lost his life. 

“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,” said Meghwal.

Meghwal is a resident of Surana village in Jalore. He alleged that the teacher hit his son on eyes and ears. 

“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 Meghwal. 

The family’s police complaint says that the incident took place on July 20 and the boy was bleeding from ear and his condition deteriorated. It adds that he was first admitted to hospitals in Jalore and then Udaipur before he was referred to a private hospital in Ahmedabad where he succumbed to injuries on Saturday afternoon.

Superintendent of Police of Jalore Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla, who is investigating the case, confirmed that the teacher has been arrested and charged with murder and sections of the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.  

He said, “The case against the teacher Chail Singh has been lodged under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST Act. The boy's post-mortem will be conducted in Ahmedabad.”

The incident grabbed eyeballs on social media where Dalit rights activists and several political leaders have demanded harsh punishment for the teacher.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed grief over the incident in a series of tweets on Saturday night. 

“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.”

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan has also slammed Gehlot’s government over the child’s death. 

“It's the CM and Congress government who are responsible for the death of a boy from the Dalit community. There is lawlessness in the state and the CM, who also happens to be the Home Minister, is responsible,” tweeted BJP state president Satish Poonia.

Following the incident, the state education department has demanded an inquiry into the matter. Two officials deputed by the education department shall probe the matter and submit a report to the block education officer.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Scheduled Castes Commission has also ordered that the case will be taken up under the case officer’s scheme for speedy investigation. 

The mobile internet in Jalore and nearby areas has been suspended in wake of the sensitive situation.