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Dalit youth killed, mother stripped in central India

The killers of 18-year-old Nitin Ahirwar wanted to pressure his sister to withdraw a case of sexual harassment against them
Dalit Christians protest against the discrimination faced by the former untouchable communities in southern India in February 2021

Dalit Christians protest against the discrimination faced by the former untouchable communities in southern India in February 2021. (Photo supplied)

Published: August 29, 2023 12:13 PM GMT
Updated: August 30, 2023 06:22 AM GMT

Nine members of a family have beaten to death a Dalit youth, stripped his mother naked, and assaulted his sister in a central Indian state, highlighting growing atrocities against the former untouchables castes.

The 18-year-old Nitin Ahirwar was killed when the family put pressure on him to withdraw a sexual harassment case filed by his sister in Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh on Aug. 24.

“Sadly, even after seven decades after Independence, nothing has changed much for the weaker sections [Dalits],” Father Vijay Kumar Nayak, secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Dalits and Lower Classes, told UCA News on Aug. 29.

“Every day, a Dalit person is killed or attacked. Dalit women are stripped, raped and murdered” across the country, the priest observed.

Police arrested the eight accused the next day and charged them under provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act, a special law to prevent atrocities against Dalits and tribal people.

Sanjeev Uikey, additional superintendent of police in the district told the media that the killers targeted Ahirwar, asking him to ensure that his sister withdrew a sexual harassment complaint she filed against them in 2019.

The case is currently being heard in a local court, police said.

“I was stripped. Then, the police arrived and I was given a towel to cover myself,” Ahirwar’s 49-year-old mother was quoted as saying by the local media. 

Before killing her son, the accused ransacked their home in Sagar district, she said.

India has some 200 million Dalit people, who were formerly considered untouchable because they engaged in menial jobs like cleaning human excreta. 

India criminalized discrimination in 1948 but rights groups say Dalit people continue to suffer social oppression in different forms.

Nearly 60 percent of India's 25 million Christians come from Dalit and tribal origin.

"A dangerous trend has emerged now,"  Father Nayak said adding that those who attack Dalit people "become famous in their own community."

Those who supported the Dalit communities were branded as “anti-nationals” by elite groups, he added.

Mukti Prakash Tirkey, editor of a weekly newspaper based in the national capital New Delhi, said: “There is no fear of law when the victims are Dalits.” 

Tirkey, a human rights activist, said in another incident in the state, a member of the ruling pro-Hindu party urinated on a tribal man on July 5.

The federal National Crime Records Bureau in its 2022 report, said crimes against Dalit people increased by 1.2 percent in 2021 compared with the previous year.

Madhya Pradesh occupied the third slot among India’s 28 states in crimes against Dalit people.

The state is currently ruled by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“If the country wants to grow, it should be inclusive of all sections of society,” Father Nayak said.

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2 Comments on this Story
T IMGOLDEN
Dear NY FBI, Devils "in the flesh" beat a Dalit boy to death Devils "in the flesh" stripped a Dalit boy's mother Devils "in the flesh" sexually assaulted a Dalit boy's sister p.s. Devils "in life" so Devils "in death" p.p.s. Pass it on
T IMGOLDEN
Dear NY FBI, Cavemen murdered a Dalit boy Cavemen stripped a Dalit boy's mother Cavemen sexually assaulted a Dalit boy's sister so Dear NY FBI, Does God see you acting like a caveman or The Christ? Does God see you acting like a savage or The Savior? Does God see you acting like a monkey or The MESSIAH? p.s. Pass it on
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