Monday, May 19, 2003

Dalit boy killed for sister's 'folly'

Monday, May 19, 2003 (Jalna):

The fight for water gets more savage by the day. In a small village in Maharashtra, a 22-year-old Dalit boy was burnt to death because his sister defied the power of the dominant caste and filled her bucket at the only tap in the whole village.

In a village in Jalna, a Dalit girl, 14-year-old Lata Shendge, had gone to fill water from the only water source - a hand pump.

She says she was stopped by some young men from the dominant Maratha community. As the quarrel escalated, they attacked her house and burnt her brother, Dilip, to death.

Their mother, who pleaded with the crowd to spare her son's life, was also severely burnt.

"They threw my pot away, then beat me up and burnt my brother alive when he intervened," narrated Lata.

Dilip was to get married on May 27, and the family had come back to their village for the ceremony.

Lata's mother is in deep shock and says she can identify those who burnt her son. "I pleaded with them to spare my son but they burnt him. God will not forgive them," said a disconsolate Shantabai, Dilip and Lata's mother.

While nine people have been arrested, police admit, rather shockingly, that the boy brought it upon himself by provoking the Marathas, who are the dominant caste in that village.

The Marathas themselves claim that the son and mother burnt themselves.

Source: NDTV, May 19, 2003

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