Father of Roshni, 15 brutally beaten to death on September 25 in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district has alleged that his daughter was molested before being killed
Image Courtesy: Milind Ghatwai / Indian Express
The father of Roshni, one of the children brutally beaten to death in the latest case of lynching has alleged that the 15-year-old girl, who was thrashed mercilessly on September 25, was also molested by the perpetrators before she was killed. The news of two children — aged 10 and 15 — Avinash and Roshni respectively, being beaten to death for defecating in the open in a Madhya Pradesh village had made news across the country.
However, six days later, there appears to have been more to the gruesome murder than was so far out in the public domain. If the family of the two victims is to be believed, the crime(s) were not just of beating to death, lynching. The rot runs deeper. The family members of the children have alleged that the 12-year-old girl, who was thrashed mercilessly on September 25, was also molested by the perpetrators before she was killed. Talking to News18, the girl’s elder brother and father of the 10-year-old boy who also lost his life in the incident said: “When I reached the site, I saw the girl’s clothes were torn. The string tying her pants was also taken off. This is not just a case of open defecation. She was molested too.”
The man said he was home when he heard the 12-year-old’s cries. “I was resting and initially thought the children must be playing. Both of them had gone to defecate early in the morning around 6am,” he recalled. However, it was immediately followed by the boy’s cry for help. “I rushed out of the house to see my son run towards the farm where the kids had gone. I could not see my sister; she was in the field,” the man told News18.
By the time he and the other villagers reached the farmland, the children had been battered to death.“My son had seen the men molest her. To end the matter (and destroy the evidence), they killed both of them. The accused belong to the majority Yadav community in the village. They don’t fear the law,” said the bereaved man who belongs to one of the Dalit families of Bhavkhedi village.
As bad as the gruesome crime, were the statements of the accused, reported in sections of the media. “Our God has decreed that these ‘Rakshasas’ (demons) should be killed.” The very same day, accused Rameshwar and Hakim Yadav — residents of the same village — were arrested for murder and under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, following the family’s complaint.
The FIR, so far, however, does not mention molestation. When questioned about the same, the man said: “I had my child’s dead body in my arms. My youngest sister was lying motionless in front of me. I was not in my senses to speak or explain the incident. I just told the police they were beaten to death by the two Yadav brothers.” It is to be seen whether the police will now rectify the FIR.
The local police is on record saying that there was no official complaint of molestation but if the investigation revealed any such angle, they would take strict action and include relevant sections under the Indian Penal Code. The accused’s family — which includes the sarpanch — have fled the village and could not be contacted for their reaction.
Meanwhile, women in the 12-year-old girl’s family have also revealed that the Yadav brothers had tried to physically harass her earlier too and threatened to kill her if she revealed the incident. The girl’s elder sister said: “Almost a month back, she came home in the afternoon crying and told me that Hakim Yadav had tried to force himself on her. When she resisted, he pushed her and warned that he would kill her if she told anyone.”
The wife of the girl’s brother corroborated the incident and said she did not tell her husband about the same due to fear of a big fight. “If there was a fight, nobody would have supported us. We would have been killed,” she said.
Rajesh Mahant, former district head of Madhya Pradesh’s Valmiki Mahapanchayat, even told the television channel said it was common for upper-caste men to molest and harass women belonging to the Dalit community.“There is a back story to this incident. It is not a one-off situation where the children were killed because they were defecating in the open. Everything added up to end in this gruesome tragedy,” he said.
When visited by reporters belonging to the channel, there was an eerie silence that has engulfed the village. The media attention has “stunned” residents; it is to be seen what steps the village population and even the administration takes to end this systematic caste oppression.
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