Landlord urinated in my mouth, alleges Dalit

The Times of India News Service

BETTIAH: Enacted in mainstream rural society, the mirch masala-laden script of this incident is attractive for the Badshahs of realistic parallel cinema.

However, the characters involved have kicked up a controversy involving the issue of protection of life and property vis-a-vis protection from and prevention of atrocities on Dalits.

Earlier this week, upper caste landlords from Chanaiyan-bandh village under the Mijhawlia police station handed over one Dasai Manjhi with a firearm to the local police. The Dalit was forwarded to jail on the allegation that he was felling timber of the landlord, Parmanand Shahi.

However, the incident soon took a sensational turn as hundreds of Dalits met the district magistrate, alleging perpetration of atrocities by upper caste landlords.

Manjhi, meanwhile, filed a complaint in the court of the chief judicial magistrate, alleging that he had been falsely implicated because he refused to work on the landlord's fields on paltry wages. He has alleged that the Shahis dragged him out of their house, tied him to a pole and shaved his head. Further, the Dalit prisoner has alleged that one of the landlords forced Manjhi to drink his (landlord's) urine.

Vinay Shahi, member of the zila parishad, has, meanwhile alleged that members of his family have been implicated in a false case at the instance of powers- that-be. "The local police found the case lodged by my family members prima facie true and forwarded the wrong-doer to jail," Shahi alleged. "Dasai Manjhi was caught with firearms and was handed over to the police, he added.

The zila parishad member, however, alleged that provisions of the Dalit Atrocities (prevention) Act have been invoked only because his family protested against trespass and theft of its property.

West Champaran district magistrate Ravi M Parmar, meanwhile, told The Times of India that the local SDO had prima facie found the allegations to be true. "No one has the right to assault anybody in a civil society," the DM said, adding the allegation of urinating in the Dalit's mouth is "serious and alarming".

The DM declined to be drawn into any controversy regarding the alleged misuse of Dalit Atrocities (prevention) Act. "The matter is before the court," he said.

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Referred by:Mukundan CM
Published on: July 11, 2001
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