Two Dalits, who were allegedly caught stealing money from a two-wheeler agency, were brutally beaten up and tortured by the showroom’s staffers in Nagaur district of Rajasthan, police said on Wednesday, 19 February.
In the video, a group of men is seen thrashing two persons with rubber belts. They later tortured one of the victims by pouring petrol on his private parts with a piece of cloth wrapped on a screwdriver, reported PTI.
Soon after the video went viral, Congress-led government in the state came under fire with former Congress President Rahul Gandhi calling the incident “horrific and sickening” and asking CM Ashok Gehlot to take immediate action.
Gehlot tweeted saying seven people have been arrested so far. He assured that “nobody will be spared". "The culprits will be punished according to the law and we will ensure that the victims get justice,” he added.
Congress, BJP Leaders Visit Naguar, Meet Victims
Leaders from the Congress and the BJP on Friday visited Nagaur to look into the incident, with Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal leading the BJP panel, while the Congress sent a team headed by Rajasthan revenue minister Harish Chaudhary.
Meghwal lashed at the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government, saying it was responsible for the incident.
Meghwal was accompanied by party legislators Madan Diwalar and Mohan Ram. After meeting the victims, the BJP panel visited the spot where the incident took place on Sunday. It also visited the Panchodi police station where an FIR regarding the incident has been registered.
According to PTI, Meghwal said an inquiry report of the panel will be submitted to BJP’s state president Satish Poonia in Jaipur on Saturday.
The Congress leaders who visited the victims included revenue minister Harish Chaudhary, social justice and empowerment minister master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal, forest minister Sukhram, MLA Harish Meena and PCC general secretary Mahesh Sharma.
"We met the victims and their family members and also held talks with locals as well as officials," Chaudhary said.
Rashtriya Loktantrik MLA Narayan Beniwal also visited the town and met the victims, PTI reported.
What Action Has Been Taken?
According to the police, the incident took place on 16 February at a motorcycle service agency in Karanu village falling under Panchodi police station area. The staffers of the agency attacked the Dalits after accusing them of committing theft.
"Seven people have been arrested after registering a case against them under various sections of IPC and the SC/ST Act. A cross FIR has also been registered for stealing money. We are ascertaining how much money was stolen from the service agency counter. Further investigation in the matter is on," DSP Nagaur, Mukul Sharma said.
The arrested accused have been identified as Bhim Singh, Idaan Singh, Hanuman Singh, Raghuveer Singh, Chhail Singh, Chhatar Singh and Rehmatullah, he said.
The police have charged the accused under Sections 323, 341, 342, 327, 355, 384 of the IPC and the SC/ST Atrocities Act.
Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad took to Twitter to criticise Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. He further urged the Rajasthan unit of Bhim Army to meet the victims and said, “Close Rajasthan on 23 February.”
Political Storm Over Incident
Meanwhile, three legislators of the opposition Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), holding placards, entered the Well of the House in protest the incident.
When the Speaker asked them to return to their seats ahead of the budget speech, the legislators walked out of the House.
The legislators Narayan Beniwal, Indra Devi and Pukhraj later sat on a dharna on the stairs outside the assembly to lodge their protest.
Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot tweeted, "The case of brutal beating of Dalit youths which took place in Nagaur district is serious. The law and order in the state should remain strong and every citizen should feel safe, this is the priority of the government. If anyone tries to take law and order into their hands, strict action will be taken against them."
The opposition BJP, however, hit out at the state government for "deteriorating" law and order situation in the state. Taking an apparent dig at Rahul Gandhi's tweet against the incident, BJP state president Satish Poonia said the Congress leader can work only by tweeting. "We have seen in the past how much people and his government listen to Rahul Gandhi's words. If the Ashok Gehlot government becomes active after Rahul Gandhi's tweets, the people of Rajasthan will get justice," he told reporters.
(With inputs from PTI.)