Tuesday, December 31, 2002

'Dalits under attack as police remain apathetic'

By S. Dorairaj

VILLUPURAM DEC. 30. It was 11.30 p.m. on December 22, when most of the 350-odd Dalits of Annamangalam in Villupuram district, squatted on the ground, were anxiously waiting to watch the `therukoothu' organised at their colony by one M. Rajaram to fulfil the ``last wish'' of his father, Munusamy, who died recently.

Even a power failure could not curb their interest in viewing the show which had `Vaali Moksham' as its theme. Some enthusiastic youngsters quickly arranged a couple of petromax lamps at the venue so that there was no interruption.

But neither the spectators nor the performers knew what was in store for them in the next 30 minutes.

An armed gang comprising members of a non-Dalit community, descended on the scene around 11.50 p.m. and launched an attack with long sickles and iron rods. The Dalits, both young and old, along with the folk artistes, started running helter skelter. Then the gang stormed the Dalit colony, ransacking the houses, destroying property and injuring men and cattle.

The violence was a sequel to Rajaram's alleged `failure' to appear before the local panchayat in connection with a case registered against his brother.

As many as 50 Dalits managed to reach the Valathi police station, around 2 a.m. on December 23, seeking protection. They were able to return to the colony only after the arrest of 12 non-Dalits under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989.

But their hopes of the village returning to normality were belied by the `shocking news' that a case was registered against Rajaram and 50 others on the same day, accusing them of setting fire to a haystack belonging to a non-Dalit. This had resulted in a fresh bout of tension in the village.

A virtual `social boycott' was allegedly slapped on the Dalits. As most of them were landless farm labourers, they had to go to neighbouring villages seeking farm work. "Barring a few Dalit families, they were neither allowed to graze cattle in the village nor purchase articles in local shops."

Narrating this reported sequence of events at a press conference here today, human rights activist, P. Kalyani, said the problem at Annamangalam had its roots in the ``denial of permission'' to the Dalits in the Kumbabishekam of the Droupadiamman temple in the village four months ago.

Prof. Kalyani accused the police of not properly enforcing the SC/STAct, 1989, and the SC/ST (PA) Rules to protect and rehabilitate Dalit victims "as amply demonstrated by the Annamangalam incidents."

Describing the Annamangalam episode as only the tip of the iceberg, he said of the 7,362 cases reported under the SC/ST Act in the State from 1990 to 2000, 3,369 had been `referred', 1,653 were `pending trial', 56 `under investigation', 2,090 `acquitted' and in only 164 cases, the accused were `convicted.' According to him, cases had been `foisted' against human rights activists, who worked for the welfare of the Dalits. In some other cases, the accused were not nabbed immediately. Under the prevailing circumstances, `kattapanchayat' groups had reared their heads.

Source: The Hindu, December 31, 2002

Dalit meal volunteer assaulted in Khammam

KHAMMAM: A Dwcra woman member belonging to the Schedule Caste was allegedly beaten up by two persons belonging to an upper caste for agreeing to prepare mid-day meal for school children.

The issue was brought to the notice of the District Development Review Committee (DDRC) by Sujathanagar MLA Ramireddy Venkata Reddy on Monday. He said Ramulu and Venkateswarlu of Basithnagar attacked the Dwcra member in Kamepally mandal two days ago and the woman lodged a complaint with the local police station on the issue.

The MLA said the woman offered to prepare food as the government had entrusted the job to Dwcra. The MLA said the two accused allegedly threatened her and asked her not to prepare food as she belongs to a lower caste.

He demanded that immediate action be taken against the two and also asked the collector to visit the village.

Roads and buildings minister Tummala Nageswara Rao, responding to the issue, said he came to know about the incident only on Monday and the problem was sorted out by arranging common meals for the villagers on Monday. He assured them that steps would be taken to avoid such incidents in future. Collector Aravind Kumar said he would personally monitor the situation and see that there would be no such incidents in future.

Source: The Times of India, December 31, 2002

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Hindu College warden resigns over caste violence

Saturday, December 28, 2002 (New Delhi):

The hostel warden of Delhi's Hindu College has resigned after three Dalit students were physically assaulted on its premises.

The incident took place over one week ago, and the hostel warden refused to take action. It took protests by students and teachers for the college to announce an inquiry into the incident.

Mritunjaya Kumar and Bharat Rohin were allegedly beaten through the night by their hostel mates because they are Dalit. Caste tensions have always simmered under the surface in Delhi University, only occasionally do they erupt.

For Mritunjaya who is also the hostel president the last week has been a battle to fight caste discrimination on one of India's better-known campuses. According to Mritunjay Kumar, President, Hindu College Hostel, "I was beaten badly. They said since the time you became college president you've made this college a Harijan institution."

When NDTV reached the campus, the authorities were unwilling to answer any uncomfortable questions. The boys allege that the warden had threatened them to lie to the police about what happened.

Hindu College Principal Kavita Sharma when contacted by NDTV said, "The warden was asked to leave for some time, so that the inquiry could be held in an unbiased manner. He has now resigned. The college will set up an inquiry committee to look into the incident."

Source: NDTV, December 28, 2002

Friday, December 27, 2002

Dalit assaulted

KOLAR (Karnataka) DEC. 26. In a macabre incident, a Dalit youth was assaulted and forced to drink urine after a petty quarrel in Bellappanahalli village today.

Police said Venkatesh, an auto driver, got into a verbal duel with Nagi Reddy, over a petty issue, and was brutally assaulted by the latter and his friends. Eyewitnesses said that when Venkatesh asked for water, he was forced drink urine. He was later admitted to the Government General Hospital.

As the news spread, tension gripped the village with people belonging to the Dalit community staging a dharna in front of Circle Inspector's Office, demanding the arrest of the culprits. Six persons have been arrested.

Source: The Hindu, December 27, 2002

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

One held in Dalit students attack case

NEW DELHI DEC. 24. A student of Hindu College here who, along some others, allegedly beat up three Dalit students in a hostel room on December 20, has been arrested by the North Delhi police, while other accused are still at large.

The arrested student, David Boon, his associates - Ravi Tushir, Ajit Singh Lathar and others - allegedly broke into room No. 82 of the mess secretary, Bharat Rohin. They beat up Rohin, his brother and the hostel president, Mrityunjay.

Mrityunjay sustained injuries in the left leg, while Rohin's face and back was bruised. Rohin's brother, Vikrant, suffered a fracture in his finger. The three were threatened with dire consequences if they revealed anything about the incident to anyone.

But their seniors insisted on getting a case registered after they came to know of the incident. The police who had earlier refused to register an FIR saying they required a formal complaint from the hostel warden, later registered a case after the students approached the SC/ST Commission on Tuesday.

The Commission assured the victims of a thorough investigation into the matter.

Source: The Hindu, December 25, 2002

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Dalit students attacked in Delhi college

NEW DELHI DEC. 23. Three Dalit students of the Hindu College here were allegedly beaten up by over a dozen students in a hostel room on December 20. And they approached the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Commission today after police reportedly refused to lodge an FIR on their complaint on Sunday.

The incident took place when over a dozen students, led by David Boon, Ravi Tushir and Ajit Singh Lathar, broke into the room of the mess secretary, Bharat Rohin. Mr. Rohin's brother, Vikrant, and the hostel president, Mrityunjay, were also present in the room. Armed with sticks, the assailants locked the door from inside and started beating up the three saying that the hostel had turned into a "harijan'' stronghold after Mrityunjay was elected its president. Mrityunjay sustained injuries in the leg, while Rohin's face and back were badly bruised. Vikrant, who tried to intervene, suffered a fracture, students said.

The three alleged that they were threatened with dire consequences if they complained to police about the incident. However, a few senior students came to know of the attack and insisted on reporting the matter to police. But at the Maurice Nagar police station, police refused to register an FIR. The victims were told that a formal complaint would have to be made by the hostel warden.Thereafter, the students approached the SC/ST Commission. They also met the Delhi Police Commissioner, Radhey Shyam Gupta, who directed the area Deputy Commissioner of Police, Sanjay Baniwal, to take immediate action.

A case under Sections 341, 323 and 506 of the IPC and Section 3 of the SC/ST Act was registered after medical examination of the victims tonight. However, those named in the complaint are yet to be arrested.

Source: The Hindu, December 24, 2002

Monday, December 23, 2002

Students flee Delhi hostel after caste row

RAJEEV BHATTACHARYYA

New Delhi, Dec. 22: Two students of Delhi University's Hindu College have fled their hostel after they were thrashed allegedly over their caste.

One of the two Scheduled Caste students has suffered a leg fracture. The other student and a guest are covered all over with bruises.

Bharat Rohin and Mrityunjay Kumar, both of BA third year, and Vikrant Rohin picked up a quarrel with hostel inmates allegedly over "caste issues" and for " seeking to turn the hostel into an SC hostel".

The three have complained to the police though an FIR is yet to be filed. The station house officer has reportedly said no action can be initiated unless the hostel warden complains in writing.

"Abuses along caste lines had begun from September, immediately after the (student) elections," Mrityunjay, also the hostel president, said.

"On one occasion, when it had become impossible to suffer the insults, the (students') union had to expel two students (from the hostel) who led the campaign against us," he said.

He alleged that there were constant threats to "re-enact Jhajjar in Hindu College". "We were so scared that we never divulged the facts to the police and chose to call it an accident in the hospital," Mrityunjay said.

Things came to a head when the expelled students were readmitted to the hostel. The warden allegedly warned Mrityunjay against complaining to the police about any hostel inmate.

Three days ago, 15 inmates locked up the three boys in their rooms and thrashed them for hours together. "Of the 15 who attacked us, only three were (hostel) residents. The others were day scholars and outsiders whom we haven't seen before," Bharat said.

Source: The Telegraph, December 23, 2002

Dalit students of Hindu college assaulted

Ravish Kumar

Monday, December 23, 2002 (New Delhi):

In a shocking incident in Delhi's prestigious Hindu college, two students were brutally assaulted by their college mates simply because they were Dalits.

The students allege that following the incident; the warden of the hostel told them not to report the incident to the police. The two students now say they will approach the SC/ST commission.

Horror story

Like a fugitive, a battered Mritunjay Kumar, hostel president of Delhi's prestigious Hindu college has taken shelter in the neighbouring Gwyer Hall hostel.

On Friday night, Mritunjay and his friend Bharat Rohin, the mess secretary were allegedly beaten mercilessly by their hostel mates because they are Dalits.

'Dalit Hostel'

The most badly injured is Bharat's elder brother Vikrant who was also in the room at that time. His back has been tattooed by the hundreds of lathi blows that went on through the night.

"They thrashed me. They abused me and said that ever since I had become the president of the hostel, it had become a Dalit hostel," alleged Mritunjay.

The boys also allege that the hostel warden threatened them to not to tell the truth and instead make a statement that they had met with an accident.

Source: NDTV, December 23, 2002

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Dalit farmer burnt alive

In a bizarre incident, a Dalit farmer was burnt alive by some miscreants before robbing him of Rs 30 when he was returning home after selling potatoes in Doddathagalli near Hoskote around 8.30 pm. The victim Muniyappa (55) of Hosahalli succumbed to his burn injuries at Victoria Hospital.

Muniyappa was returning from Kattigenahalli after selling potatoes. The killers poured kerosene on Muniyappa and set him ablaze. Muniyappa then managed to douse the fire himself and went to Chinnigerayapur, where his relatives admitted him to a hospital. Last night, he was shifted to Victoria Hospital, where he succumbed today. Kadugodi police visited the spot.

Source: Deccan Herald, December 22, 2002

Friday, December 20, 2002

HC orders collector to take action on boycott issue

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court has ordered the Sabarkantha district collector to take action within two months against the social boycott of Dalits by the upper caste Hindus over the burial ground issue at Vaghrota village of Prantij taluka.

Passing the order, Justice H K Rathod directed the collector to act on the report of taluka development officer for resolving the dispute. The court also asked the district administration to take all necessary steps for establishing peace and harmony between upper caste and Dalits in the village. Advocate S H Iyer appeared for the petitioners.

The village, which is dominated by the upper caste members, had declared a social boycott of Dalits who are not allowed to purchase even essential commodities from their shops. Dalits are also not allowed to sell their commodities.

The boycott followed a dispute between the Dalits and villagers over a Dalit burial ground. The petitioners claim that they have been burying their dead since generations. The upper castes have built a temple there and have plans to build a school also, which was opposed strongly leading to the tension.

Source: The Times of India, December 20, 2002

Dalit paraded naked in Gopalganj dist

GOPALGANJ: A Dalit was paraded naked and his face blackened with paint for daring to go to fetch his daughter-in-law belonging to a higher caste from her home village in Gopalganj district, police said on Thursday.

The incident occurred as Krishna Ram of Sarai Hanumangarhi went to the neighbouring Vishnupur village to fetch Suman Kumari whom his son, Kanhaiya Ram, had married in court in June this year. Despite enmity between the two families following the marriage between the Dalit boy and the girl of sonar caste, Krishna Ram went to her village to bring her back.

On reaching the village, Krishna Ram was pounced upon and abused by the girl's family members, stripped and paraded naked in the village with his faced smeared with black paint, the sources said.

Source: The Times of India, December 20, 2002

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Caste factor: Dalit paraded naked in Bihar

Thursday, December 19, 2002 (Gopalganj, Bihar):

A Dalit was paraded naked and his face blackened with paint for daring to go to fetch his daughter-in-law belonging to a higher caste from her village in Bihar's Gopalganj district.

The incident occurred as Krishna Ram of Sarai Hanumangarhi went to the neighbouring Vishnupur village to fetch Suman Kumari, whom his son, Kanhaiya Ram, had married in court in June this year.

Krishna and his son had earlier found Suman missing from their house along with jewellery and Rs 25,000 in cash on returning from work a week ago. Father and son had concluded that this was the handiwork of Kumari's family.

Despite enmity between the two families following the marriage between the Dalit boy and the girl of Sonar caste, Krishna Ram went to her village to bring her back.

On reaching the village, Krishna Ram was pounced upon and abused by the girl's family members, stripped and paraded naked in the village with his faced smeared with black paint.

He lodged an FIR with the Town Police Station on Tuesday against the humiliation. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Source: NDTV, December 19, 2002

Monday, December 16, 2002

Another attack on Dalits

Pradeep Sharma

Panipat, December 15

Despite assurances by the district administration, the Dalits and the Muslims of Nawada Aar village, 22 km from here on the Haryana-UP border were attacked yet again yesterday allegedly by hooligans hired by the upper caste leaving five persons injured.

Even as the latest attack on the Dalits has spread panic among the Dalits and the Muslims of the village, the incident has dealt another blow to the image of the local administration and the police. With this, the "compromise" between the Dalits and the upper caste, which was effected by the administration after the November 14 attack on the Dalits in which several Dalits has run into rough weather. According to the "compromise", the Dalits had been allowed to construct a street on a stretch of land and assured of security.

According to eyewitnesses, the hooligans, allegedly hired by certain persons from the upper caste, attacked the Dalits and the Muslims living in Nawada Aar. They had also allegedly damaged their property. However, the police acted rather swiftly this time and registered cases against Gordhan, an influential resident of the area, and another person.

Till 1975, these Dalit and Muslim families had been living in Nawada Aar, which was at slightly lower height than the adjoining villages. During the monsoon, Nawada Aar would get flooded. As a safety measure, the administration shifted these families to a safer place on the shamlat land in Nawada Aar. During the past several years, certain influential persons had allegedly been eyeing the prime shamlat land whose prices shot up during the past several years.

Meanwhile, a BSP team, led by the Haryana unit chief, Mr Ashok Sherwal, and the local district president of the unit, Mr Randhir Singh, which visited the village today, while demanding strict action against the guilty, blamed the local administration for the second attack on the hapless families in about a month.

Source: The Tribune, December 16, 2002

Friday, December 13, 2002

Martyr's memorial incomplete: Caste gets in the way

Ravish Kumar

Friday, December 13, 2002 (Sonepat):

The attack on parliament on December 13 last year was foiled by a small group of dedicated and quick thinking security personnel. Five of them were killed in the gunfight with militants.

Assistant sub-inspector Nanak Chand was among those who lost their lives. While the nation honoured him with a Kirti Chakra, a panchayat in Haryana has denied his wife the right to construct a memorial.

Martyr Dalit

All because Nanak Chand was a Dalit, his memorial is still incomplete in Sonepat's Rathdhana village.

A landless Dalit, she approached the panchayat for land but the dominant Jat community members in the panchayat opposed her.

After much pleading, she was given a small piece of land measuring 22 feet.

Unable to build a memorial on it, she appealed to the administration for a larger plot but again the Jat members intervened saying a Dalit could not be a martyr.

"They say Dalits cannot be brave. Bravado is only for the upper castes. The government has given us money but what will we do if we are not allowed to build a memorial with it?" says Ganga Devi.

Caste politics

But villagers say that since Ganga Devi has already received compensation from the government she is not entitled to get any land from the panchayat.

"The differences arose when she demanded more land. The panchayat is not willing to give any more land," says Mange Ram, who is a Jat.

After the Parliament attack, all political leaders had said that all those who sacrificed their lives to protect the very symbol of Indian democracy were martyrs. But in Sonepat's Rathdhana village, martyrdom is decided on the basis of caste.

Source: NDTV, December 13, 2002

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Jhajjar lynching: Magistrate transferred

CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 11: Two months after five dalits were lynched to death in Jhajjar's Dulina village, the Haryana Government has transferred Jhajjar city magistrate Rajpal Singh indicted by the one-man inquiry commission into the incident ''for not performing his duty properly.''

The state government had accepted the report of the Rohtak Divisional Commissioner R.R. Banswal on Sunday.

It had also decided to take action against erring officials who were deputed for controlling the situation.

Banswal, in his inquiry report prepared after he examined a number of witnesses, members of bereaved families and executive magistrates, had indicted six policemen besides the executive magistrate and other administrative officers.

Rajpal Singh was among the 14 Haryana Civil Services (HCS) officers transferred yesterday.

Meanwhile, I.D. Swami, Union Minister of State for Home, today stuck to his guns that the killing of five dalits in Haryana on Dussera was an 'incident' and Haryana was least effested by the communal and casteist tensions.

Swami, who hails from Haryana, had come in for attack by his own partymen like Sangh Priya Gautam and allies like DMK for his reply on the incident in the Rajya sabha today. Members accused the minister of ''shielding the Haryana government on the killings.''

The five men were lynched to death by a frenzied mob on October 15 after they allegedly skinned a cow. Congress and Haryana Vikas Party have rejected the Banswal Commission report and are demanding a fresh inquiry by an independent agency.

Source: The Indian Express, December 12, 2002

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Dalit girl raped

BASTI DEC. 10. A 10-year-old Dalit girl was raped while returning from school in Mirwapur village of this district by a resident of the same area, a police official said today.

An FIR was lodged accusing a 40-year-old Mani Ram Chaudhry for the crime. He said the incident had sparked off tension in the village.

Source: The Hindu, December 11, 2002

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Officials found guilty of being spectators as mob lynched (dalits)

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 9: Taking cognizance of the inquiry report in the Jhajjar Dalit lynching case, the Haryana government has decided to chargesheet the cops and administrative officials who have been found guilty of ''not taking appropriate and timely action.''

Rohtak Divisional Commissioner R.R. Bansal's report has mentioned these officials and police as mere spectators to the incident. Those who were present at the time of incident and will be chargesheeted for failing to take action include duty magistrate Rajpal Singh, DSP Narendra Singh, SHO Jhajjar Rajinder Singh, Incharge Dulina Police Post Dharambir, BDPO S.P. Singh, Naib Tehsildar Shyam Lal and two ASIs.

''The drama started at 6:15 pm and ended at 10:30 pm. Many government officials were present. More than investigation, it is a matter of record,'' Banswal told The Indian Express.

The state government would soon ascertain responsibility of other officials and employees present on the occasion and their cases would be referred to their departments for further action.

The report has observed that additional police reached the spot late which allowed the mob to lynch the Dalits and escape. The report, however is silent on the role of the Deputy Commissioner and SSP.

Banswal prepared his report after examining a number of witnesses including members of the bereaved families, police personnel, executive magistrates and the public.

Police were also accused of giving sufficient time to the public to assemble at the police post though they had sufficient time to shift the five who were beaten badly by the mob to a safer place or to a hospital for medical aid.

Police officers failed to defuse the situation. When the lynching occurred, the mob had between 1,000 and 1,500 people whereas the police force had 71 personnel till 9.20 pm and 145 at 10.10 pm, the report states.

They did not inform the SP about the requirement of safety/preventive measures at the police post. They also did not inform the district heads, including the DC and the SP, Jhajjar, about the real cause of concern.

As per post-mortem reports, the cause of death of Kailash was burns and injuries which were ante-mortem in nature and the cause of death of the other four was shock and haemorrhage due to ante-mortem injuries.

Source: The Indian Express, December 10, 2002

Sahariyas battle official prejudice, apathy

PARUL CHANDRA

MAMONI, Baran: A little less than an hour before you reach this village in the heart of Shahbad taluk of the drought-stricken Baran district, the taxi driver announces that we have entered an area where the adivasis live. Getting descriptive, he says it is the people who use the "dhanush" (bow) who inhabit the region lying in the south-eastern part of Rajasthan.

For the Sahariyas, described as the only 'primitive tribe' living here in Rajasthan, the bow and arrow may be a thing of the past. But grinding poverty coupled with continued neglect and exploitation have ensured that they remain largely bereft of the benefits of health care, education, even roads.

The Sahariyas' deprivation has come into sharp focus as they now battle chronic hunger and starvation, apart from the prejudices the babudom here seems to harbour against them.

An indication of which a district official gave when he remarked that they have too many children and that they drink a lot. "They don't want to live in villages, they want to live away," he continued little realising that this is a way of life for the Sahariyas. He said of them, "They have no sense of personal hygiene. They don't bathe for 15 days."

In fact, among the bureaucracy in Rajasthan, a posting to the Baran region is largely seen as a punishment posting with a transfer here being described as having been sent to "kala pani."

Just as the remoteness of their villages, the Sahariyas seem to exist on the periphery of society. The name Sahariya is variously supposed to have originated from the word sher (lion) or jungle or from the Arabian word sehara (wilderness) all indicating the tribes intrinsic links with the forest. And even though the Sahariyas exist in sufficiently large numbers in this region, approximately one-third of the population in the Shahbad and Kishanganj blocks is said to comprise them, its people remain marginalised.

The strength in terms of numbers hasn't reaped the Sahariyas any benefits. And when a drought like the one this year comes along, the tribe which is so heavily dependent on minor forest produce and work as agricultural labour for subsistence, suffers even more. There are, however, some Sahariyas who own agricultural land.

Says Charu Mitra of the NGO Sankalp Sansthan who has been working among the Sahariyas for over a decade: "They have been treated in a feudal manner. So they suffer from low self-esteem and if you tell them that `You are good for nothing,' they will say `Yes.'" It is a general feeling of nirasha (lack of hope) that surrounds the Sahariyas, remarks Mitra.

According to Mitra, it was in the early 1960's that their tragedy began when they were given land, whether forest land or revenue land. Ignorant about the difference, they seemed to fall victim to the ensuing tussle between the two departments over land demarcation.

Also, she says people would take loans in their name and not repay them. Result? Many a person belonging to the tribe would say that he had become awaddoo (overdue) a way of saying that the banks were chasing them to recover loans they had never taken.

Over the years, the state government has initiated programmes like the Sahariya Vikas Pariyojana. A district officials here reels off what is being done for the Sahariyas under this, "schools, hostel for boys, hostel for girls, scholarships, uniforms, subsidised diesel pump sets...." However, it is evident that most schemes meant to benefit them have remained quite ineffective so far.

Source: The Times of India, December 10, 2002

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Dalit lynched for his affair with Muslim

ASHWANI SHARMA

RAIPUR, NOVEMBER 30: A 17-year-old Dalit was allegedly lynched yesterday at Bhilai for his affair with a Muslim girl. Om Prakash's body was found hanging from the ceiling of a cattle shed which was locked from outside.

The youth, a resident of Bapunagar basti under Khursipar police post, was a fruit-seller. He was on his way to attend Congress leader V.C. Shukla's rally when two people, one of them the girl's brother, reportedly asked him to accompany them for an urgent work.

The four people allegedly involved in the crime, including the girl's father and two brothers, were reportedly lying in wait for the victim. While denying that they murdered him, the father, Mubarakh Ali, now under arrest along with his sons, admitted to having beaten up Om Prakash before locking him inside a cattle shed. ''He used to tease my daughter despite being warned repeatedly,'' he said.

Police officials investigating the case, however, said the two were indeed having an affair, much to the disapproval of the girl's family.

Victim's younger brother Vijay claimed he saw the accused beat up Om Prakash before hanging him till death. Later, a huge crowd that had gathered in the basti broke open the doors.

SP, Durg, Ramesh Sharma, claimed that in the absence of a post mortem report, police were treating it as a case of abetment to suicide and if the post mortem report proves that the youth was lynched, the FIR will be treated accordingly.

Source: The Times of India, December 1, 2002