Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Blinded brothers blame caste rivalry


Giridhar Jha

Patna, October 15

THE TWO brothers who were blinded on Sunday for 'robbing bus passengers' have alleged that the incident was the outcome of caste rivalry. Refuting the robbery charge, Dayanand and Adhik Yadav told the Hindustan Times that upper caste men of the Mehush village had wanted to settle scores with them.

The victims, who are being treated at the Patna Medical College Hospital, said they were returning from Barbigha where they had taken their mother for treatment. "Our mother was with us when the incident occurred. As the bus reached Mehush chowk, some passengers dragged us out and assaulted us," said Dayanand. "First they drove a screw driver into our eyes and then poured acid."

Adhik said they had once refused to pay a penalty imposed by the Mehush village panchayat. He allleged that he and his brother were blinded to avenge their refusal to pay. They did not say why they had been fined.

The duo hails from the Yadav-dominated Samastipur village, which is adjacent to the upper-caste dominated Mehush village. Doctors attending on them said Dayanand's left eye was badly damaged while Adhik was relatively better off. But it was difficult to say whether their vision could be restored, the doctors said. The brothers are being treated with handcuffs on. The police had on Tuesday claimed they were members of the Kapil Yadav gang.

The brothers' relatives have accused the police of callousness. "Despite their condition, the police kept them at the railway station for six hours, waiting for a train to Patna," their uncle said. The relatives had to hire a truck to reach the hospital, he said.

Source: Hindustan Times, October 15, 2003

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