Uttar Pradesh: Caste-Based Murder Allegations After Youth's Electrocution, Bhim Army Demands Arrests, Threatens Protest

The police registered cases against some 60 individuals who had participated in a protest demanding justice and the arrest of the perpetrators.
A woman from the Valmiki community pleading for justice with police officers.
A woman from the Valmiki community pleading for justice with police officers.

Shahjahanpur— In Itaoli village of Thana Puwayan, Shahjahanpur district, Uttar Pradesh, a case of murder has surfaced allegedly due to caste discrimination.

After a youth named Ravi Valmiki (21) died of electrocution, his family members alleged that the police registered cases against approximately 60 individuals who had participated in a protest demanding justice and the arrest of the perpetrators.

Among those charged were also individuals who had no connection to the incident but happened to pass through the road where the protest was taking place.

Mukesh Kumar (35), a resident of Itaoli village, narrated to The Mooknayak over the phone that his brother Ravi Valmiki was taken away from their home around 6:30 PM on June 20 by a group of people on motorcycles. At that time, his wife was at home and had questioned the reason for their presence.

Mukesh alleged, "That day, I received a call from the village head that something had happened to my brother. A few moments later, those same people brought Ravi back home on a motorcycle and hastily fled."

The deceased, Ravi used to frequent those people with whom there was a dispute over hair cutting.
The deceased, Ravi used to frequent those people with whom there was a dispute over hair cutting.

He further stated that upon reaching home, he found his brother lying on a cot, bleeding from his mouth and head. Rushing him to the community health center in haste, they were referred to the district hospital where doctors described his condition as critical.

Mukesh claimed that his brother's death was a result of a conspiracy. He told The Mooknayak, "We belong to the Valmiki community. Therefore, here in Itaoli village, barbers refrain from cutting our hair. There has been a dispute over this in the past, and those same people who had a quarrel with us years ago took my brother away on a bike that day."

Mukesh stated that they were six brothers in total, Ravi being the third. Ravi used to frequent those people with whom there was a dispute over hair cutting.

In the incident, Mukesh's family member Punni Devi in the complaint lodged at the police station said, "Umesh Srivastava, son of Ramkumar, and Ashraf Lal, son of Bahadur, came home and took Ravi with them. Those people asked Ravi to climb an electricity pole for connecting the wire. However, Ravi said he did not have any knowledge or skill to do electricity related work, however, the people did not listen and they forcibly got Ravi on the pillar. This is when my brother-in-law Ravi got a shock. Then both of them brought Ravi back home and ran away."The woman accused two people in the case.

Ravi's parents wailing over his body
Ravi's parents wailing over his body

Mukesh explained that Ravi's treatment lasted for about 5 days. However, during his admission to the ICU, there wasn't enough money available for his proper treatment.

On the sixth day of treatment, Ravi passed away. "After his death, we began demanding justice and the arrest of the culprits from the administration. Seeing us take this stand, other villagers and local people joined us. Women placed Ravi's body on the road, causing a traffic jam. During this time, the police also resorted to lathi charge. The police have also filed cases against me, my brothers, and about 60 others, including our families," Mukesh said.

After the incident, the police registered a case under Section 304A against the two accused. However, this section was seen as lenient by the affected family members. When the affected family started a protest demonstration, the police also included sections 304 and SC/ST Act during the demonstration.

The Mooknayak asked Pankaj Pant, the area officer of the Puwayan police station, about the arrests in the case, he said, "Investigation is underway," and disconnected the call abruptly. However, it is noteworthy that about 18 days have passed since the incident and no information about any arrest has been received until the news was written.

The Bhim Army Bareilly Mandal team including Mandal chief Advocate Vikas Babu, Taufik (Pradhan), Shahjahanpur District President Rajiv Gautam, Pilibhit District President Saurabh Bharatiya, Sushil Gautam, Suresh Chandra Baudh, Vijay Raj, Vinay Singh, and other officials visited the village to meet with the grieving family.

They met with Ravi's parents and brother to inquire about their well-being and to understand the details of the incident. Immediately contacting the SP of Shahjahanpur, they demanded the arrest of the culprits and issued a warning that if no arrests were made within three days, the Bhim Army would launch a major protest in Shahjahanpur.

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