Dalit student in Delhi University beaten up
Monday, September 10, 2001 (New Delhi):
In a shocking incident in Delhi University, a Dalit student was beaten up mercilessly by his upper caste hostel mates.
Rajesh Kumar's swollen eyes and torn clothes tell the story. His crime -- he is a Dalit who drank water from a tap, while his upper caste hostel mates instructed him not to do so.
"I felt thirsty around 2 am (IST). I came down to drink water. They called me a chamar. They asked me where I was going. I asked them why were they talking to me like that. They tore my shirt apart and started beating me up. Then they pinned me against a wall and thrashed me," recounted Rajesh, a PhD student.
"There were loud noises all of a sudden. I ran outside to see Rajesh being beaten up," recalled a student. "They abused him. They called him a chamar. He only wanted to drink water," said another.
The four accused have been absconding. This is not the first time that such an incident has happened. In the last two months alone, six cases of attacks on Dalits have been reported in Delhi University, but no action has been taken so far.
In this case, while the authorities earlier denied that any such incident had happened, it was only after NDTV intervened that they decided to act. "We will take stern action against the student who has done this. We will provide Rajesh with full security if he feels that his life is in danger," assured Dr J P Shrivastava, Warden, DS Kothari hostel, Delhi.
While action has been initiated at a local level, the police have still not acted. When the NDTV team reached the police station 22 hours after the incident, no FIR had been filed. The reason given was that lack of witnesses would weaken the case.
It is cases like these that highlight the discrimination that exists in our society against the Dalits. The sad part is that even though this issue has been hotly contested at international meetings, the ground reality continues to be the same.