Dalits driven away from Rautahat village

Rautahat, March 7 :

Some 100 dalit families of Sakhuawa Dhamaura VDC in Rautahat district were displaced after a group of over 100 non-dalit persons beat them up last night.

Around 500 dalit people in ward numbers 1 and 3 of the VDC are taking shelter in neighbouring villages. The non-dalits entered a dalit settlement, beat them up and drove them out of the village.

The dispute arose after a local shopkeeper, Ram Bahadur Pandit, tried to charge extra for a cold drink from a dalit youth Satya Narayan Paswan.

A quarrel that ensued took a nasty turn and over 100 non-dalits gathered and beat up the dalits. Two persons — Amiri Paswan and Santosh Paswan — were critically injured in the melee. Amiri lost several teeth, while Santosh suffered serious head injuries.

“A group headed by Ram Bahadur Pandit, Madan Pal, Kishori Pandit, Jay Mangal Yadav and Hikayat Mansuri thrashed us,” said a victim, Ram Gopal Paswan, adding: “We were compelled to leave the village.” After getting word of the incident, journalists, police personnel, rights activists and representatives of different dalit organisations reached the site. “They have threatened to kill us if we return to the village. My family is displaced. We are compelled to stay in a garden between Harsaha and Bita villages on empty stomachs,” said another victim, Ganesh Paswan. Superintendent of Police Ram Kumar Khanal at the Rautahat District Police Office said: “Police personnel have been dispatched to the site. Investigation is on and search for the culprits is also underway.”