No justice for tortured labourer

Vibha Sharma
(New Delhi, May 18)

MORE THAN six months after his legs were chopped off dalit labourer Lakshman Singh is still waiting for justice. When Singh had asked his ‘employer’ for his wages - a mere Rs 1000 - he was paid by severe beatings and having his legs chopped off.

This had happened on October 23 in village Guthakar, Bharatpur, but till date no efforts have been made towards the rehabilitation of Singh and his five children.

After having knocked on the doors of those who could have helped him, Singh is now in the Capital. Despite making several rounds of the offices of state and national-level political leaders, including the President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, he has not been able to secure an appointment with them.

Singh and his brother Dhoop Singh, like their father and fore fathers, had been working as construction labourers for Guthakar village sarpanch Attar Singh Gujjar for the last several years. "We were paid in cash or kind, but there were no fixed wages. But last year in October, the financial crisis became too much and we asked Attar Singh for Rs 1,000, which he owed us for an earlier job. But he refused to pay,'' said Singh.

Realising that he would not get any money from the sarpanch, Singh began working for another rich villager. ``Apparently angered at this, the sarpanch along with a few of his men came to my house and thrashed me and prevented me from working for anyone else,''he alleged.

Singh then went to the police. It was only after the DIG Bharatpur intervened in the matter that an FIR was registered under Sections 147, 323, 341, 452 and 504 of the IPC and Section 3 (6), (10) of the SC/ST Act. ``The sarpanch and his brothers were furious on learning that a police case had been filed against them. On October 23 last year at around 8.30 pm, when I was returning from Bharatpur, Attar Singh along with 12-13 men beat me up with iron rods till I lost consciousness,'' he alleged.

At around 10 pm, the police came and took him to a hospital. Both his lower limbs had been crushed by his assailants and were amputated. An FIR was registered and six people were arrested only to be let off on bail two days later. Singh and his wife Mohini were forced to leave their village and move to Jaipur.

The couple is now camping in Delhi, waiting for justice.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 21, 2001
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