Two Dalit children beaten to death for defecating in open, days before announcement of Open Defecation Free

ODF

The Hush Poast| 12:35 pm|one-minute-read|

Two Dalit children, who it is learnt did not have a toilet at home, were allegedly beaten to death. The incident happened when two upper-caste men beat them for defecating near a village panchayat building in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district today, the police said.

The incident took place around 6.30 am at Bhavkedhi, which is roughly 25 km from the district headquarters. The village, according to locals, had been declared open defecation-free (ODF) on April 4, 2018.

The two alleged assailants — Hakam Yadav and his brother Rameshwar Yadav — were arrested after the incident, police said.

Manoj Balmiki, a labourer whose sister Roshani (12) and only son Avinash (10) became victims, alleged the family faced discrimination in the village due to their caste. Avinash was studying in Class 1 and Roshani in Class 3.

“We don’t have a toilet at home. The children went out to defecate in the morning. Rameshwar and Hakam, who were standing near their hand-pump, shouted at them for defecating on the road and rained ‘lathis’ (sticks) on their heads while the children were relieving themselves, killing them in seconds,” said Balmiki.

Balmiki alleged he had had a spat with the accused two years ago when they accused him of axing a branch of their tree. The accused were arrested for murder under the IPC and the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, said Inspector RS Dhakad of Sirsod police station.

After the arrest, Hakam said he had killed the kids as god had commanded him in his dream to kill “demons”.

Roshani was Manoj Balmiki’s sister. “I raised her after my mother died five years ago,” he said. “Everyone in the village has a toilet at home, except us,” he said.

“The panchayat had sanctioned a house with toilet for me. But a family member of the accused being a sarpanch scuttled the proposal,” Manoj alleged.

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