Rajasthan: Dalit Student Dies After Upper Caste Teacher Beat Him for ‘Drinking Water’ from His Pot

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NHRC has taken a suo motu cognizance of the incident and issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Rajasthan calling for a detailed report in the matter and to submit the response within four weeks

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — A nine-year-old Dalit student, who had suffered injuries on his eye and ear after his teacher allegedly thrashed him for drinking water from a pot meant for so-called upper caste Hindus on July 20 at a private school in Rajasthan’s Jalore district, died on August 13 in a Gujarat hospital where he was taken for treatment. 

According to reports, Police have arrested the teacher and charged him with murder and under the strict law that protects India’s scheduled castes and tribes.

The FIR registered in the case says Dalit student Indra Kumar Meghwal was “naive and did not know that the pot had been kept aside for the teacher from the upper caste”.

“Teacher Chail Singh told the boy, ‘You are from a lower caste. How dare you drink water from my pot!’. He then thrashed him,” the FIR says.

“Indra was a child, he didn’t know that the matki (earthen pot) that he drank from had been kept separately for the savarna jaati (upper caste) teacher. Indra mistakenly drank water from the matki of Chail Singh,” reads the FIR registered in the case under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC and relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Casteist slurs

The FIR adds that after Indra drank the water, the teacher abused him with casteist slurs and beat him up. The FIR says that as a result of the beating, the child sustained internal injuries to his right ear and eye.

According to a report published in Indian Express, for 24 days, the family of a nine-year-old Dalit boy from Rajasthan’s Jalore district took him from one hospital to another before the child breathed his last at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on Saturday.

According to authorities at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, the child was admitted on Saturday morning and was declared dead during treatment. “The post-mortem was completed on Saturday and a viscera sample has been sent for further testing. The exact cause of death can be ascertained only after the test results come in,” said Rajnish Patel, Additional Medical Superintendent at the hospital.

Inhuman treatment

Kishore Kumar Meghwal, deceased Dalit student’s uncle and the complainant in the case said, “My nephew died because of his caste. Dalits face inhuman treatment in our region. Even today, we have to go several kilometres to find barbers who can cut our hair. Ever since we registered the FIR, we have been living in fear for our own safety,” reports The Indian Express.

The accused, Chail Singh, 40, ran a private school in Jalore’s Surana village where the child was a Class 3 student. While Singh owned the school and also taught there, he lived in a village around 30-40 km away. Singh was arrested on Saturday, says the report.

On Monday, Jalore SP Harsh Vardhan Agarwalla and his team recorded the statements of several students of the school, including those who were present on July 20, when the incident happened.

“We are investigating the allegation that the boy was beaten up because he drank from a certain pot, and are also interrogating people from the school. But our preliminary investigation hasn’t proved this allegation,” said SP Agarwalla.

The family members of the Dalit child victim also claim that that after the incident, they were asked by the Rajputs of their village — the community to which teacher Singh belonged — to arrive at a compromise and not go to the police.

NHRC, NCPCR seek report

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken a suo motu cognizance of the incident and has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Rajasthan calling for a detailed report in the matter, including the present status of the investigation being conducted by the police and action taken against the responsible headmaster, reports IANS.

The commission said that the Director General of Police (DGP), Rajasthan is expected to explain as to why the FIR in the matter was not registered by the police for 23 days in spite of efforts by the family of the victim.

Apart from the status of payment of the Statutory Relief under provisions of the SC/ST Act, the Commission has also sought information from the state government as to what steps have been taken or proposed to be taken to ensure that such inhuman and cruel acts are not done with the vulnerable sections of the society, including the SC and ST.

The commission has asked the state government and the police chief to submit the response within four weeks.

Apex child rights body NCPCR has also sought strict action by the Rajasthan government against those responsible for beating to death a nine-year-old Dalit boy for allegedly drinking water from a pot belonging to upper caste teacher.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), in a letter to the district magistrate, said the matter is serious and sought copies of the FIR, action taken by the administration against the accused and a transcript of the action taken by the police administration within seven days. (With media inputs)

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Cover photo: A nine-year-old Dalit student who died after his teacher beat him for allegedly drinking water from a pot meant for upper caste teacher in Rajasthan. — Courtesy: Outlook

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