UP Dalit family murder: Two policemen suspended

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi who visited the family also told reporters that the women of the Dalit family had told her that they had flagged a threat to their lives in September this year as well as in 2019.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi who visited the family also told reporters that the women of the Dalit family had told her that they had flagged a threat to their lives in September this year as well as in 2019. Photo: Priyanka Gandhi/Twitter

Following four members of a Dalit family in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj were allegedly killed by a neighbouring upper-caste Hindu family on Thursday, UP police have suspended two of its personnel who were forcing the deceased family to compromise with the accused upper-caste Hindu family over an SC/ST atrocities case.

The police action comes after Opposition in the state and Dalits in the locality mounted pressure on the Yogi Adityanath government over the murder of the Dalit family.

Phoolchand Pasi, a 50-year-old Dalit labourer, his wife 40-year-old Meenu, 10-year-old son Shiv and 16-year-old daughter Sapna were murdered in Gohri village of Soraon Vidhan Sabha of Prayagraj. The minor girl was allegedly gang-raped before her death.

A case was lodged under IPC Sections for gangrape and murder, as well as under the POCSO Act and SC/ST Act, against 11, of whom eight have been arrested. The accused are Akash Singh, Babli Singh, Amit Singh, Ravi, Manish, Abhay, Raja, Ranchu, Kuldeep, Kanha Thakur and Ashok.

Kin of the four members of a Dalit family who were killed in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj on Thursday have alleged that an upper-caste Hindu family is responsible for the heinous crime.

The Dalit family had flagged a threat to their lives in September this year as well as in 2019, but the cops refused to take action against the upper-caste Hindu family.

The suspended police officers are Ram Keval Patel and Constable Sushil Kumar Singh. In a complaint, a relative of the deceased family said that the Dalit family had approached Patel and Singh for protection, but the help was not provided.

In 2019 and 2021, the deceased family had filed an SC/ST case against the upper-caste Hindus of the village itself, confirmed Sarvashrestha Tripathi, the Prayagraj police chief.

“Initial information suggests that in 2019 and 2021 they (Dalit family) had filed cases under the SC/ST Act against some people related to a land dispute. The family alleged there was no headway in these cases. We will take strict action,” Tripathi said in a video statement.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi who visited the family also told reporters that the women of the family had told her that they had flagged a threat to their lives in September this year as well as in 2019.

The cops, according to the family member, were trying to force the Dalit family to a compromise.

“The police were forcing the murder victims to compromise. Sushil Kumar (a police constable) used to come to us and pressure us to compromise. The police used to sit at their (accused) homes. The local inspector also told us to compromise,” NDTV quoted the family member as saying.

Even senior police officer Tripathi also noted that the deceased Dalit family had accused police of not taking action against the upper-caste Hindus in the earlier cases.

“The allegation of not taking any action in earlier cases is also alleged by the family of the deceased. Keeping all these in mind, action is being taken, some people have also been taken to custody,” Tripathi told reporters.

The family member also alleged that on 21 September, the members of the Dalit family were beaten up by upper-caste Hindus. Though they approached cops soon after the incident, an FIR was filed only after a week. A counter FIR was also filed against the Dalit family too.