Uttar Pradesh: Dalit man’s arm crushed by upper caste, struggling to lodge FIR

News Desk: A young dalit man from Masuri Kherwa village in Mahua block in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda district has been running from pillar to post for the past two years, seeking justice and punishable action against an ‘upper caste’ man from his village who allegedly thrashed him at an ‘aata ki chakki’ (flour mill) where he ended up losing his right arm.

Jitendra Kumar, a jatav by caste, had dreamt of using his right hand for eradicating his poverty by securing higher education. His wishes are now shattered. Kumar alleged he was at his home at 3 pm on January 21, 2020, when his fellow villager Satya Prakash Mishra came and asked to accompany him to the nearby flour mill. He refused, saying he had some other work to do.

The refusal enraged Mishra to the extent that he allegedly hurled casteist slurs and threatened him to face dire consequences. Following a heated verbal exchange, the minor was “forcibly” made to sit on the accused’s bike to go to the mill.

As the duo reached the mill with a wheat sack for grinding, the victim was allegedly thrashed, shoved and pushed. Kumar, in the process, lost balance and fell on a machine, which crushed his right hand.

When he began bleeding profusely, the accused took him to a hospital, which referred the victim to a multi-speciality hospital in Kanpur. The doctors there had to amputate his right arm to prevent the infection from spreading further.

The victim’s father, Vivek Kumar, said that the accused told him that he would bear the treatment, and pressurised him to not pursue the matter legally. “He also promised to give compensation if I don’t file a police complaint. But I refused,” he alleged.

The next day, he said, the accused, accompanied by others, came to the hospital and asked him to sign a paper, following which the victim would get some money.

“Since I am illiterate, I could not read what was exactly written on the paper. I contended and signed the document, which later turned out to be a ‘sulah nama’ (a compromise between accused and victim) – declaring that my son accidentally fell on the machine that resulted in crushing his hand” he described.

Even after signing the paper, as his father said, the victims did not get a single penny either for treatment or as compensation.

Cops took nine months to register a First Information Report (FIR)

The police took whole nine months to register an FIR under IPC sections 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 504 (insult intended to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and sections 3(1)(d), 3(1)(DHA) and 3(2)(V) of the SC/ST Act.

The incident took place on January 21, 2020, but the FIR was registered on September 24, 2020; and that too was on the court’s intervention.

After the victim met all senior police officials with the request to register a case against the accused to no avail, he approached a designated SC/ST court, praying it to direct police officials to lodge an FIR based on his complaint.

“The court found merit in our arguments and directed the police to lodge a case under appropriate sections” said his lawyer Mahendra Sahu.

The police, as per the FIR, said they got the victim’s complaint on September 24, 2020, based on which the FIR was filed.

Contrary to what the police said, the victim’s father claimed he had filed the complaint soon after the incident. “The police kept shielding the accused. No one was ever arrested. Even today, they are protecting the perpetrators” alleged Vivek.

A chargesheet has been filed in the matter through which the accused appear to have been given a clean chit.

“The police in their final report has stated that both Jitendra (victim) willingly went to the mill with Mishra (the victim). The former lost his balance and therefore, he accidentally fell on the machine. As a result, his right arm was badly injured and amputated later. The allegation of casteist slurs and physical assault were found to be untrue” said the lawyer.

The victim, his lawyer, and those helping them in the case alleged the accused had taken the signature on a stamp paper to prove his ‘innocence’.

“To make the victim’s complaint null and void, the accused submitted the paper to the police along with statements of few people who testified his innocence. Interestingly, those who have reportedly testified as witnesses have been manufactured. Their Adhaar cards were taken for some other works and used in this case” alleged Mobina Khan, an activist associated with Vidya Dham Samiti who is helping the victim in the legal battle.

Raja Bhiaiya of Vidya Dham Samiti said that such atrocities in Bundelkhand are a widespread affair; members of the dalit community are forced to work in feudal people who belong to mainly upper caste. If they refuse to work, their ‘hukka pani’ will be stopped; they will also be not allowed to defecate in their fields. “We can sense how rotten our society is. Despite losing one of his hands, Jitendra and his family are struggling to get an FIR registered”.