Resistance against Dalit Atrocity in UP

Yogi’s Mirzapur police in Lalganj forcibly cremated a dalit youth who was allegedly murdered, without even lodging a FIR under relevant sections. The dead body of Dharmraj was found on 21 July outside his village Sahira with visible torture marks but the police declared it a case of suicide and burnt the body. The body was not handed over to the family after the postmortem. Family members gave a written application for lodging an FIR along with the names of the accused which was ignored.

The aggrieved family along with hundreds of people and CPIML UP secretary Sudhakar Yadav protested in front of Lalganj tehsil on 4 August demanding filing of a murder case and arrest of the accused. The SDM, Circle Officer of Police and thana incharge assured them to lodge a proper case within three days but that promise was not kept and remained elusive on very flimsy pretexts. Another protest was again held on Quit India anniversary on 9 August where this incident was raised by hundreds of people. This again followed by a call from CO office that the police will register the case which was not done.

This has become nearly impossible for the poor and oppressed communities in Uttar Pradesh to lodge their serious grievances and atrocities with the officials. Emboldened police openly protect upper castes and criminals with impunity. Things got further worse for the protesters when CPIML district leader Jeera Bharati and Amresh Kol were abused, mistreated and brutally pushed out from the CO office when they tried to get an update on what happened regarding filing of a simple FIR. The thana incharge present there openly challenged these activists saying how much you can try the FIR will not be registered.

The CPIML district unit started a 50 hour sit-in protest inside the tehsil campus with the slogan ‘establish the rule of law’ and ‘file the case of murder’ immediately. The SDM and other officials tried to dissuade the protesters without success. The protest was going to be more intense they sensed and the thana incharge (Kotwal) made a visit at night first to threaten again but later, seeing the resolve of unmoved protesters, she agreed to file an FIR.

The FIR under section 302 was eventually registered after 23 days of murder. When filing a first information report for a crime as serious a murder could be possible after many weeks of efforts and protests one can imagine the plight of dalits under Yogi rule in UP. Still, no arrests have been made and party activists are now holding meetings in order to build pressure on the administration for taking action.

Ironically, this same UP administration is never lax when it comes to repress people defending their rights and lands. On 6 May district administration and forest department forcibly evicted more than 40 houses in Kotwa Pandey village. They were living for many generations on that land. Now a university will be built at the same place. The CPIML district secretary Ram Pyare Ram and AIARLA leader Jeera Bharati were arrested for protesting this displacement without any rehabilitation and a lath-charge was done on hundreds of protesters. The arrested leaders were made to sit inside the thana and released late night after filing a false FIR. However, the remaining evictions were stopped after this protest and the administration had to take action against one lower official of the revenue department for his conduct. This struggle was a victory eventually as those who were being evicted now have got land pattas in their names and the proposed university will be built on some other location. But the cases filed against comrades Ram Pyare Ram and Jeera Bharati are still there, they are out on bail and have to face persistent administrative persecutions on various pretexts whenever they come forward to lead people against the incidents of oppression of dalits and marginalised people. The democratic space in UP has drastically shrunk under Yogi rule but the struggles will continue till there are violations of rights and humanity.