Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Dalits made to drink urine

Upper-caste landlords abuse 3 youths over cricket dispute

CHANDIGARH: In a shocking incident, a fight over a cricket match between schoolboys escalated into a full-fledged caste war that led to three Dalit boys being forced to drink urine by upper-caste landlords in Ferozepur district.

Presenting the three 'victims' — Gurbax Singh (20), Bittu Singh (16) and Piara Singh (12) — at a press conference here today, state BJP leaders said the incident took place at Patrewal village near Abohar. All the victims belong to the Rai Sikh community.

Jagir Singh said it was during a cricket match that his son Nanak, a Std VIII student, picked up a fight with his upper-caste classmate, Amardip Singh. Nanak's relatives visited Amardip's residence, but were abused and forced to leave. "Amardip’s father, Gurdip Singh Jakhar, even threatened to teach us a lesson," Jagir said.

"A few days later (on November 27 last), a group of Jakhar landlords accosted our relatives who had come from the neighbouring Bulla village," Jagir said, adding while his younger brother, Balwinder, managed to flee, three other boys — Gurbax, Bittu and Piara — were dragged to the residence of the sarpanch, Gurdas Singh, where the landlords urinated in their juttis (shoes) and forced them to drink it at gunpoint. Gurbax said: "Apni jutti vich peshab kar ke saanu pin nu kiha" (They urinated in their shoes and made us drink it).

Later, the boys were handed over to the police where they were kept in custody for eight days. When a former panchayat member, Malkiat Singh, went to meet the sarpanch to seek the boys' release, he was asked to produce two relatives of Nanak Singh. Later, two uncles of Nanak, Balwinder Singh and Kulwant Singh, were kept in police custody for 11 and eight days, respectively. Sarpanch Gurdas Singh denied the incident, saying he was not in the village that day.

Source: The Indian Express, January 04, 2005


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