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Lathi, Charged

June 12, 2009

I gather that the Uttar Pradesh police has become especially sensitive to crimes against Dalits after the Lok Sabha debacle of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party. I gather that the head of the state police is now flying dowin in his helicopter to areas that are reporting serious atrocity cases, routinely suspending his department’s employees in-charge of the area. I gather that Dalits going to the police station in UP’s villages are no longer being told, ‘Do a compromise. Why do you want to complicate matters? After all inter-caste harmony is needed to make Behenji Prime Minister!’

Nobody’s talking about Behenji as PM anymore. Everyone’s talking about Behenji now becoming the Chief Minister of UP, taking charge, as it were, two years after she was supposed to take charge.

So I learn about an orphan Dalit girl in a village who was washing clothes from water she wasn’t supposed to touch. A certain Prajapati, a ‘backward’ caste individual, got a lathi and beat her twice with it. Once on the shoulder, then on the leg. She ran to a local Dalit activist who took her to a police station. On the way people said you’ll also be jailed, don’t be foolish. The activist said don’t worry. The activist wrote out the complaint for the FIR. The police went out and got the Prajapati and put him behind bars. Then the police said, the complian doesn’t work. Write a better one. We’ll tell you. Write you were beaten all over. Write you were beaten on the stomach. The medical examination won’t be able to accept or deny that, and we’ll pursue the charge anyway. Under the SC/ST Act. Yes, yes, you deserve justice, under Behenji’s rule if Dalits don’t get justice who will?

SC/ST Act for two lashes of a lathi. Until 16 May 2009, it was the Great Indian Police Compromise (Prevention) Ordinance for even rape and murder. And now Behenji will get the votes, but will she get Prajapati’s vote?

And so I learn such fascinating stories on a day I spent some depressing hours in a police station in Delhi, but that’s another story.

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