Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today condemned the murder of two children belonging to the Dalit community in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri, and urged the Kamal Nath government to take stringent action against those responsible.
"As a mother myself, I am deeply saddened by the cruelty and inhumanity of this incident. What was the fault of these children, and can you even imagine what their mother must be going through? I request the Chief Minister's Office to ensure that the culprits receive stringent punishment, so that incidents such as these do not occur in the future," Ms Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.
Two children - a 12-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy from the Dalit community - were beaten to death allegedly for defecating in front of the panchayat building at Shivpuri's Bhavkedhi village on Wednesday. Ironically, the incident occurred less than a week before the country was set to declare itself open defecation-free on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
"They had gone to relieve themselves when they were beaten with lathis (sticks). They died on the spot, just 60 feet from our house," the father of one of the two children, a daily wage labourer, said.
Police, however, claimed that no complaint of caste discrimination has been lodged with them.
"The family of the accused say that he committed the crime because he is mentally disturbed. We have filed a First Information Report," said Rajesh Singh Chandel, a senior police officer.
Although discrimination on the basis of caste is illegal, it still practised in the country's rural areas.
The BJP, which rules the centre, has blamed the Congress government in the state. "There is no fear of law anymore. Two innocent children were killed. The culprits should be booked, and the family should get justice as soon as possible," said party MLA Vishwas Sarang.