After the death of a nine-year-old Dalit student, who was thrashed by his teacher for allegedly touching an "upper caste" pot of drinking water in Rajasthan's Jalore district, 12 Congress councillors in Baran Municipal Council on Tuesday, 16 August, sent their resignation letters to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, expressing anguish over atrocities against Dalits and backing party MLA Pana Chand Meghwal.
The Baran-Atru MLA on Monday had sent his resignation letter to Gehlot, two days after the incident.
Further, Rajasthan Education Minister B D Kalla said that the state government was in the process of terminating the affiliation of the private school that the boy belonged to.
“The affiliation of the school is being terminated. At the same time, an advisory will be issued so that no such incident occurs in the future," he said, according to news agency PTI.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra on Tuesday announced financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the nine-year-old. Dotasra said that the amount will be given to the victim's family by the party.
Several politicians have reacted to the incident, with former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar saying on Tuesday that "caste system remains the greatest enemy 75 years after Independence."
Congress Leaders Visit the Victim’s House
The state Congress president, accompanied by Rajasthan ministers Mamta Bhupesh, Bhajan Lal Jatav, and Govind Ram Meghwal, visited the victim's house in Jalore's Surana village. He expressed grief over the incident and assured the family of all support on behalf of the party.
Later, talking to reporters, Dotasra said the state unit of the party will give the financial assistance, in addition to Rs 5 lakh announced by CM Ashok Gehlot.
He further said, “Our party president Sonia Gandhi and leader Rahul Gandhi have directed the leaders and MLAs to visit the family and do whatever can be done to assist the family,” news agency PTI reported.
Dotasra said the matter will be investigated and a speedy trial will be held. He informed that the private school has already been served with a notice, asking why the affiliation of the school not be terminated.
12 Congress Councillors Send Resignation Letters
Congress leader and former state deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Tuesday headed to Jalore to meet the victim's family and said a strong message needs to be given to win the Dalit community's trust.
Meanwhile, 12 of the 25 Congress councillors in the Baran civic body expressed anguish over atrocities against the Dalits and deprived sections.
Ward No 29 councillor Yogendra Mehta said they sent their resignation letters in support of the MLA Pana Chand Meghwal and against the government's failure to protect the Dalits.
The other councillors who sent their resignation letters are Rohitashva Saxena, Rajaram Meena, Rekha Meena, Leeladhar Nagar, Hariraj Erwal, Piyush Soni, Urvashi Meghwal, Yashwant Yadav, Anwar Ali, Jyoti Jatav and Mayank Mathodia, he said.
They will submit copies of their resignation letters to the Kota divisional commissioner on Wednesday, Mehta added.
Meanwhile, nominated councillor of the Kota's Itawa civic body Suresh Mahawar also sent his resignation letter to the chief minister.
Before heading to Jalore, Pilot said:
"Such incidents need to be strongly condemned. We need to put a check on such incidents. Only laws, speeches and actions are not enough. We will have to give them a strong message that we are with them in order to instil trust in them."
The Congress leader condemned the politicisation of the issue, calling it inappropriate whether it is done by the BJP or his own party.
(With inputs from PTI.)