Thursday, June 13, 2024

In MP’s Dalit family, two men killed, sexual assault survivor woman dies after “falling from ambulance”; family accuses Thakurs

On Sunday, Anjana Ahirwar, a 21-year-old Bachelor of Arts student and a Dalit, died after she allegedly jumped from a moving ambulance that was also transporting the body of her uncle, Rajendra Ahirwar, aged 28, who had been killed the previous day. The suspects in Rajendra’s death are said to be connected to an upper-caste Hindu Thakur family.

Anjana’s brother, Nitin Ahirwar, had been murdered about nine months earlier, allegedly by members of the Thakur community.

The body of Rajendra Ahirwar was being moved from a government hospital in Sagar to their home village of Barodiya Nainagir in Khurai town.

Shortly before the tragic events leading to Anjana and Rajendra’s deaths, the family claimed that police protection provided since Nitin’s murder was withdrawn, along with the removal of CCTV cameras from around their residence.

Rajendra, who worked as a daily-wage laborer, was violently attacked at a house of a person named Pappu Razak in Barodiya Nainagir on the night of May 25. Razak is a close aide of Thakur family. An FIR names Ashiq Qureshi, Bena, Israil Bena, Faheem Khan, and Tantu Qureshi as the assailants, who allegedly struck Rajendra on his head, back, hands, and legs with axes and sticks.

The Madhya Pradesh Police have arrested Ashiq Qureshi, with the others currently evading capture.

Dharmendra Dhairwar, the district leader of the Bhim Army, was quoted by Scroll saying, “Rajendra had been assaulted at the behest of the Thakur family that was involved in molesting Anjana and killing her brother.”

Anjana had allegedly been molested by several men from the Thakur family in 2019 while on her way to school, as per her family’s allegations.

“She came home and told her parents who registered a complaint against the men. Since then, there has been a lot of pressure on us. The Thakurs are related to Bhupendra Singh. They kept pressurising us to withdraw the complaint,” Akash Ahirwar, Anjana’s cousin, told Scroll.

“The Thakurs are closely related to BJP MLA Bhupendra Singh. A demand by locals to demolish their house as punishment has also been stalled by the district administration. The collector had agreed to demolish their house in writing,” Dhairwar further alleged.

Singh, a Hindu nationalist politician, who has served as an MP and state minister, is currently the MLA for Khurai.

In August of the previous year, a first information report was filed following Anjana’s complaint after three members of the Thakur family – Komal Thakur, Azad Thakur, and Vikram Thakur – came to their home, demanding the withdrawal of her earlier complaint.

According to the FIR, Vikram Thakur, Komal Thakur, and Vijay Thakur forcibly entered the Ahirwar home, armed with sticks, smashed the front door, and wreaked havoc on the family’s possessions.

The Thakurs were allegedly searching for her brother Nitin. They subsequently located him at a nearby bus stand and attacked him repeatedly, resulting in injuries to his head, back, hands, and legs. He succumbed to his injuries the following day.

Anjana and Nitin’s mother was reportedly stripped and paraded through the village by these upper-caste men.

Following Nitin’s death, the Bhim Army blocked the main road in Barodiya Nainagir and organized a sit-in protest with his body.

Thirteen individuals, including Vikram Thakur, Vijay Thakur, Azad Thakur, Komal Thakur, and nine of their associates, were arrested by police in connection with Nitin’s murder.

This case is currently under trial in a special court in Sagar district.

Earlier this month, Vijay Thakur was released on bail. “After he came out, the pressure on us to withdraw the complaint began again,” said Akash.

On May 25, a group of men, allegedly linked to the Thakur family, forcibly took Rajendra from his residence.

He was taken to a hospital in Sagar for treatment, where he died due to injuries sustained to his head, back, hands, and legs.

While transporting Rajendra’s body back to Barodiya Nainagir in an ambulance on May 26, Anjana allegedly jumped from the vehicle while her parents were asleep.

“She had been fighting so bravely for so many years…Why would she jump from the ambulance? We believe her death is caused by something else. Her head had an injury. We want an inquiry into this,” Akash stated, questioning the circumstances of her death.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who met with the Ahirwar family earlier this week, has demanded that the district superintendent of police and district collector be removed from their posts. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav visited the family on Wednesday and assured them that his government would open a police station in their village.


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