Muzaffarnagar: A man was brutally beaten by a group of people in Muzaffarnagar, where a month ago, a group of Dalits had gone door-to-door in a village, throwing out pictures and idols of gods and goddesses from the homes of people belonging to their community. Vipin Kumar, who was targetted on Saturday, was allegedly one of the four people involved. He is currently in hospital.
A video of the attack is being circulated in the district in western Uttar Pradesh, which had been seared by clashes between Hindus and Muslims four years ago. The violence against Vipin Kumar comes around a month after Dalit protests had swept parts of Maharashtra, in which two persons died. Protests were held in Delhi too, demanding the end to discrimination against Dalits.
The police say they have filed a case and are looking for the culprits - a job that won't be easy since the video does not show their faces. It is suspected that they belong to local right-wing groups.
Vipin Kumar was returning from his shop on his motorcycle on Saturday morning, when he was ambushed by four people in Kelanpur village. In the video, the men can be seen repeatedly hitting Mr Kumar with sticks and abusing him. Towards the end, they even forced him to chant the names of gods and goddesses.
The attack, the police suspect, is retaliation to last month's vandalism in which four Dalit men had targetted the shrines at Dalit men in Kelanpur. They had made a video which showed them tearing down pictures of gods and and goddesses from walls and throwing out idols. In their place, they had left photographs of Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
Vipin Kumar and the others were arrested after members of some local right-wing groups, filed a complaint with the police. Arrested soon after, he was released on bail a few days ago.
The men, reports suggest, belonged to the Dalit organisation Bhim Army, whose leader Chandrasekhar Azad is currently in jail. He was arrested last June for the month-long caste clashes 600 km away in Saharanpur, in which two persons died and nearly 20 people were injured.