The inhumane incident has snowballed into a major controversy
MUMBAI: Four Dalit men were allegedly hung upside down, spitted and urinated upon, stripped and beaten up by people belonging to upper caste in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra last week.
The victims were “punished” for allegedly stealing a goat and some pigeons in Haregaon village under Shrirampur taluka in Ahmednagar on Friday, August 25.
A viral video shows a group of six men mercilessly beating up one of the victims, Shubham Maghade who is hung upside down from a tree.
According to police officials, main accused Yuvraj Gaande suspected that the victims were behind the theft of some of his pigeons and a goat. They hatched a plan to teach them a lesson.
Gaande and his friends reportedly picked the victims from their homes and took them to the accused’s residence where they were subjected to inhumane treatment.
The victims have denied allegations of theft and claimed that they were targeted because of their Dalit identity.
Local police swung into action after the video started doing rounds on social media by registering a case against the six people under sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 364 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act at the Shrirampur Rural Police Station.
Two of the accused – Pappu Parakhe and Deepak Gayakwad have been arrested while efforts are on to apprehend others.
On Sunday, villagers observed a shutdown demanding strict action against the accused.
Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar sent the activists of his Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi to meet the victim families and to their family members over phone.
“He was thrashed, urinated upon, spitted on, forced to lick his own spit, stripped and hung upside down. Horrific, isn’t it? This is what MY PEOPLE face every day,” he tweeted, alleging the BJP-Shiv Sena government’s “indifference” towards such incidents.
A shutdown was observed in Haregaon village in Shrirampur taluka on Sunday in protest against the incident.
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole described the incident as a “blot on humanity”. “Such incidents are a result of hate being spread by BJP for its political gain,” he alleged.
Nationalist Congress Party’s chief spokesman Mahesh Tapase accused the government of failing to protect Dalits.