Dalit man assaulted in Telangana: Arrested victim gets bail; BJP leader among 6 held for assault

Four others who were accused in the case are still absconding. They had still not been arrested by Monday evening.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Feb 07, 2023 | 2:54 AMUpdatedFeb 07, 2023 | 12:32 PM

Six arrested, including BJP leader Murali Krishna Goud, for thrashing Dalit man in Devanoor, Tandur, Vikarabad. The survivor also arrested. (2)

The incident of a Dalit man assaulted by Shaivites — some of them allegedly members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini — has taken new turns. The video of the horrific assault had gone viral.

The victim, a man from the Dalit community, was one of the seven people who have been arrested since the incident. 

Identified as Metli Naresh, he is accused of insulting one of the Shaivites — locally known as Swamis — and their God, in an incident that predated the assault. 

The police complaint and the resulting FIR of that incident were also registered before the assault took place. 

After struggling to obtain bail as he languished in judicial custody, he finally obtained bail on Monday, 6 February, sources told South First.

Meanwhile, one of the six others arrested is a 28-year-old BJP leader named Narender Bodka, who lodged the complaint based on which Naresh was arrested. 

Four others wanted in the case are still absconding. “We are making continuous efforts to arrest the remaining accused,” Yalal SHO A Aravind told South First over the weekend.

They had still not been arrested by Monday evening.

Timeline of the event

Buram Abhinav, the state general secretary of the anti-caste organisation Kula Nirmulana Porata Samithi (KNPS), told South First, “After the Dalit group brought the Ambedkar statue on 27 January to Devanoor, Mohan Charry (one of the accused names in the FIR) raised objections.”

The following day, a group of Dalits went to his house demanding an explanation. Mohan apologised to them for his comments.

On 29 January, the Ambedkar statue was installed in the village. Several local Dalit leaders also participated in the event.

“Things escalated on the evening of 30 January when the Shaivites passed lewd comments as youngsters from the Dalit community were playing Ambedkar songs in front of Mohan’s shop,” Abhinav said, adding that neither Naresh nor Narender were present at the spot initially.

He said that both of them reached the spot after being informed by their respective groups.

“While trying to resolve the issue, Narender used casteist slurs, to which Naresh raised objections. He asked him not to use foul language as he was under deeksha (initiation),” Abhinav said.

The next day Narender lodged a complaint at the Yalal Police Station alleging that Naresh had assaulted him and hurt his religious sentiments.

At the same time, hundreds of Shaivites, demanding Naresh’s arrest, staged a protest at the Laxminarayanpur crossroads.

“Narender also circulated pictures of Naresh on social media. Under pressure from the Shaivites, the police asked the Dalit leaders to bring Naresh to the police station/ The sub-inspector informed the Shaivites about Naresh’s detention,” said Abhinav.

He added that apprehensive of tensions, the police shifted Dalit leaders to the MRO office.

It was then that the Shaivites encroached at the police station. “They first attacked Naresh’s paternal cousin Prem and then assaulted him,” said Abhinav.

Allegations by Dalits

The activists and local Dalit leaders alleged that the cops, in the FIR, did not record the fact that the Shaivites barged into the police station and assaulted him inside the premises.

As per the cops, Naresh was booked under IPC Section 153a (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295 (… defiling any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion).

They said the assault on him happened outside the police station as they were ashamed that they could not maintain law and order, adding that the cops could take suo motu cognisance as the Shaivites stopped public servants from discharging duties.

They added that the cops initially denied that they had registered a case against Naresh. “They have arrested Naresh late at night to appease the Saivites and BJP groups,” Abhinav alleged.

Related: 9 Hindu Yuva Vahini members absconding after thrashing Dalit man 

BJP blame BRS

The police arrested BJP leader Goud on charges under IPC Section 108 (instigating others for violence).

Condemning the arrest of Goud, several BJP members have been calling it a false case registered against him by the police on the orders of the BRS MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy.

“The BRS is an anti-Dalit party. They have been misusing power. We are warning them of dire consequences if they do not mend their ways,” one of the BJP members said in a video posted on the social media page of Goud.

Demanding the intervention of Rohith Reddy, Abhinav said, “He should speak as it was he who sponsored the statue, but it seems he is backing Shaivites.”

South First reached out to Rohith Reddy, but he did not respond.