Patna: Dalit ire against ‘police atrocities’ following an incident of ‘stone pelting’ at Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s convoy is increasing.
Local media reports say that NDA partner Jitan Ram Manjhi has used strong words against the state government for atrocities on Dalits by police and administration at Nandan village in Buxar district in the aftermath of the attack on the chief minister’s convoy on January 12.
Manjhi, the founder-president of HAMS, plans to meet Nitish to demand immediate action to provide relief to the victims belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC).
“We are an NDA partner, hence we will seek time to meet the chief minister tomorrow (Friday) and request him to take immediate action. The real culprits should be nabbed instead of torturing and harassing innocent Dalits. If this is not done we will protest with dharna, demonstrations and may call a meeting of Dalits from all over the state at Nandan village,” Manjhi said.
An eight-member fact-finding team led by Manjhi’s SC cell president Rameshwar Rajak, submitted its report to Manjhi on Thursday.
The report says the police went to the Dalit hamlets in Nandan village after 10 pm and misbehaved with residents.
“Women were dragged outside and then taken to the police station around midnight. This is illegal as the law prohibits the police from taking them to the police station in such cases at night. No women constables were present when this was done. Around 10 to 12 women are still missing,” says the report.
The former chief minister also questioned the ‘development-for-all’ claim by Nitish and said the report from Nandan village reveals there was “no development in the Dailt tolas (hamlets)”.
“Around 150 families of Dusadh, Mushar and Ravidas castes live on one side of the road and virtually no development work has happened in their hamlets. Families of other castes reside across the road and development work has happened there,” Manjhi said.
Blaming the local JDU MLA, Dadan Yadav, and mukhiya Rajiv Pathak for discrimination in implementation of development schemes, Manjhi added: “The Dalits were excited by Nitish’s visit and wanted him to show him the ground reality. The mukhiya and the local MLA tried to prevent this by pushing and threatening the Dalits, which led to stone-pelting. But the ire of the Dalits was directed not towards the CM, but towards the mukhiya and the MLA.”
Manjhi said the report reveals that all young men and women in the Dalit hamlets have either fled or been arrested, with only children, elderly and cattle remaining; and they are starving for several days.
In another development, Former JDU leader Sharad Yadav’s faction on Thursday demanded a probe by a sitting Patna High Court judge into the attack on chief minister Nitish Kumar’s convoy in Buxar district on January 12.
The ‘other JDU’ accused the Nitish Kumar government of torturing Dalits including women at Nandan village and said the attack on the convoy was a fallout of the anger in the community deprived of development in their hamlet.
“We have no faith in the probe being conducted by the police. There should be a fair probe by a sitting judge of Patna High Court,” said former minister Arjun Rai.
A team from Sharad’s group, including disqualified Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar, Rai, and Santosh Yadav, visited Nandan village on Wednesday. Rai said no women police were present when cops arrested women from the Dalit tola of the village over the attack on the CM’s convoy.
“This may be the first case in Bihar that Dalits have been tortured in a planned way to such an extent,” Rai alleged. “Nitish was not even hurt in the attack and not a single small stone touched his body. Ever since he has joined hands with the BJP, atrocities on Dalits have increased manifold. Nitish’s mentality has changed toward the downtrodden people. To appease the RSS, Nitish is torturing Dalits – not just the men but women as well.”