Dalit boy’s killing: 12 Rajasthan Congress councillors quit
Jaipur, Aug 17: Twelve Congress councillors in the Rajasthan's Baran Municipal Council on Tuesday sent their resignation letters to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, expressing anguish over atrocities against the Dalits and backing party MLA Pana Chand Meghwal.
The Baran-Atru MLA on Monday had sent his resignation letter to Gehlot, two days after the death of a nine-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten up by his schoolteacher for touching a drinking water pot in Jalore.
Meanwhile, political leaders made a beeline for the boy's home in Jalore's Surana village.
Congress leader and former state deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Tuesday reached the boy's home and said a strong message needs to be given to win the Dalit community's trust.
State Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra visited the boy's home with Women and Child Welfare Minister Mamta Bhupesh, PWD Minister Bhajan Lal Jatav and Disaster Management and Relief Minister Govind Ram Meghwal.
He announced financial assistance of ₹ 20 lakh to the family from the party fund and promise a speedy trial.
Backing MLA Meghwal's move, 12 of the 25 Congress councillors in the Baran civic body expressed anguish over atrocities against the Dalits and deprived sections.
Ward No.29 councillor Yogendra Mehta said they sent their resignation letters in support of the MLA and against the government's failure to protect the Dalits.
The other councillors who sent their resignation letters are Rohitashva Saxena, Rajaram Meena, Rekha Meena, Leeladhar Nagar, Hariraj Erwal, and Piyush Soni, Urvashi Meghwal, Yashwant Yadav, Anwar Ali, Jyoti Jatav and Mayank Mathodia, he said.
They will submit copies of their resignation letters to the Kota divisional commissioner on Wednesday, Mehta added.
Meanwhile, the nominated councillor of the Kota's Itawa civic body Suresh Mahawar also sent his resignation letter to the chief minister.
Before heading to Jalore, Pilot said, "Such incidents need to be strongly condemned. We need to put a check on such incidents. Only laws, speeches and actions are not enough. We will have to give them a strong message that we are with them in order to instil trust in them." The Congress leader condemned the politicisation of the issue, calling it inappropriate whether it is done by the BJP or his own party.
Rajasthan Congress chief Dotasra said the state unit of the party will give financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the boy's family, in addition to Rs 5 lakh announced by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot from the CM relief fund.
"Our party president Sonia Gandhi and leader Rahul Gandhi have directed the leaders and MLAs to visit the family and do whatever can be done to assist the family," he said.
Dotasra said the matter will be investigated and a speedy trial will be held. He said the education department has already served a notice on the private school where the incident occurred, asking why should not the affiliation of the school be terminated.
The Congress leader said the boy's family members had resentment against the local police and they have been assured that action against the guilty will be taken. One police constable was suspended on Tuesday, he said.
MLA Pana Chand Meghwal and Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission, Justice G K Vyas, also visited the village and consoled the family.
On the other hand, BJP's Jalore MLA said it is doubtful that the boy was beaten by the teacher for being from the Meghwal caste and touching the water pot.
"I have talked to villagers and others, and as per them, there is doubt that the incident occurred because the boy was Meghwal and he touched the water pot," Garg said in a video statement.
"There is no doubt that the boy was beaten up by the teacher and he died. The accused teacher has been arrested. Inquiries are being conducted. Whether he was beaten up for being a Meghwal and touching the water pot, let it be clear in the investigation. Only after the findings, statements should be given," he said.
It was alleged in the FIR that Indra Kumar was beaten by his teacher Chhail Singh for touching the drinking water pot.
In Jaipur, four members of the Bhim Army climbed on an overhead water tank demanding a compensation of ₹ 50 lakh to the family of the boy.
The BSP also held protest rallies at district headquarters and handed over representations addressed to the president to district administration officials.