Woman Dalit pradhan in U.P. ‘insulted’ by locals during video meet with officials; one arrested

According to the FIR, some people allegedly asked her to get off the chair, grabbed her hand inappropriately and used casteist slurs against her.

A newly-elected woman Dalit gram pradhan in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba has alleged that some people asked her to get off the chair, grabbed her hand inappropriately and used casteist slurs against her while she was attending a virtual meeting in the village panchayat bhavan with senior district officials.

Following a police complaint lodged by her husband, an FIR was lodged against four persons and six unidentified others on charges of assault with intent to outrage the modesty of a woman, criminal intimidation and other relevant clauses of the Indian Penal Code.

The accused were also slapped with several charges under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, including the crime of intentionally touching a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe when such act of touching is of a sexual nature and is without consent.

One of the accused identified as Ajit Singh alias Ramu Rajput, 21, was arrested and produced in court on June 5, Mahoba police said.

“When someone grabs my hand and blurts out casteist abuses, I am bound to feel insulted,” the gram pradhan, 26, told The Hindu.

On June 2, the pradhan, along with her husband, a computer technician and others was attending a video conferencing with senior district officials, including the District Magistrate, at the panchayat bhavan in her village. The bhavan apparently falls in the locality of the Lodh community, an OBC caste, to which the four main accused belong.

Around 10.15 a.m., records the FIR, some youth entered the room and allegedly got into an altercation with her. The pradhan said the main accused Ramu Rajput insisted that she raise the issue of cleanliness and taps in the village in the meeting even though she had already lodged a complaint with the officials.

One of the accused men then grabbed her hand with “bad intention” and used a casteist slur targeted at her community, said the gram pradhan’s husband in his police complaint. The family belongs to the Jatav sub-caste of SC, the largest Dalit community in Uttar Pradesh.

As per the FIR, the accused then allegedly told her, “You are seated on a chair in front of us!” and pulled her down from the chair.

They then allegedly starting abusing her with casteist slurs and said that “if you want to operate as a pradhan, then you have to do as we instruct you,” her husband said in the police complaint.

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