A Dalit journalist Santosh Kumar who works with Hindi news channel Bahujan India 24 News, and his family members were targeted and brutally assaulted by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Thakur leader in Jaunpur district, in Uttar Pradesh, Yadavendra Pratap Singh after Santosh’s wife Reshma stood in the election and Santosh had published news reports regarding the Thakurs’ harassment and abuse of Dalits in the village.
On 26 June, the Thakurs under the leadership of BJP leader brutally attacked Santosh, The Caravan reported.
“Those people beat me so much that I fainted. They used casteist abuses and mother-sister profanities. They broke both my legs. I suffered several serious injuries—it was a life-threatening attack,” the Dalit reporter shares the ordeal.
Santosh also alleged that following his complaint against BJP leader Singh and other Thakur men, the station-in-charge told him, ‘Remove the BJP leader’s name and we will take your complaint.’
Santosh who is the bureau chief for Jaunpur district of the Hindi news channel, remained in the hospital for ten days.
Following Santosh’s letters to district and state administration, as well as government bodies such as the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes state commission, on 17 July, the Maharajganj police filed an FIR against Singh and 14 associates, reported The Caravan.
Santosh and Reshma said the caste based violence from upper-caste Hindu men did not end here.
He said that on 20 August, some of BJP leader Singh’s associates came to his house. “They locked my wife and children in and beat them brutally. My whole family was attacked.”
The Dalit reporter told The Caravan that he has been facing casteist attacks and threats since March 2021.
Santosh claimed that the BJP leader from the dominant Thakur caste, has targeted Santosh and his family as they are Dalit.
BJP leader Singh is the head of the saffron party’s Maharajganj division in Jaunpur.
Though Santosh, his wife Reshma, and other members of the Dalit community in the area, have written numerous letters to local police and administrative heads, no action has been taken on it yet.
The Caravan reported that the police registered a first information report against Thakur in mid July, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of) Atrocities Act.
Since 20 August, the family of Dalit reporter has been sitting in protest outside the district collectorate in Jaunpur, demanding that the police arrest BJP politician and hold him liable for his crimes.
In a police complaint, Santosh alleged that Singh began targeting the reporter and his family in late March, just ahead of the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Santosh’s wife Reshma had stood in the election against BJP leaders’ wife Anamika.
“They came and threatened my wife, and told me that if we fight the election, they will have us killedh,” Santosh told The Caravan.
In a complaint to the superintendent of police in Jaunpur, Reshma said Singh and his men “used disgusting abuses and casteist terms.”
The Thakur men told her, “Your job is only to do manual labour,” she said in the complaint.
“For the safety of my life and property, my entire family wrote a complaint but nothing was done,” The Caravan quotes Santosh as saying.
“People from our community, all those who voted for and supported us, were harassed every other day,” Santosh said.