Dalit shooting: Forest staff protest against colleagues’ arrest
Bhopal: Several government employees, including members of MP Forest Employees’ Association, took to the streets on Thursday to protest against the registration of murder case against 14 forest personnel following the shooting of a Dalit in Shivpuri.
The protesters submitted a memorandum to the district collector and SP, saying that the action against forest employees was uncalled for. They argue that the firing was in self-defence and some of the employees who have been charged with murder were not even on the spot at the time of incident. Six of the 14 accused forest personnel have been arrested and all of them are in jail custody.
“We have arrested forest guard Ram Naresh, who had fired the shot from his licensed weapon. As of now, we have not found any evidence to indicate that there was a situation that led him to use his weapon. We have received memorandum from the forest employees and their points will be taken into consideration,” said SP Shivpuri Rajesh Singh Chandel.
On February 16, a Dalit was shot dead in Shivpuri’s Fatehpur village, allegedly by a forest department employee, during an altercation between his family and foresters over filling of water from a hand pump. The family of victim Madan Balmiki alleges that forest personnel humiliated them when they were drawing water from a tube well near the Fatehpur outpost. It triggered an altercation during which Madan was shot dead.
A case was registered against 14 forest department personnel, including a woman, under IPC and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The forest department, on the other hand, claims stones were thrown at them during an antiencroachment drive and Madan was shot when some villagers were trying to snatch a gun.
Madan’s wife and cousin were washing utensils at the hand pump when ranger Suresh Sharma came to fill his waterbottle and a few drops of water spilled on him. He got angry and hurled casteist remarks at them, says the FIR. Madan’s wife says in the FIR: “My daughter ran over and told him not to abuse us. But a woman forester dragged her by the hair and slapped her. When my husband came running to intervene, he was shot dead,” says the complaint.
Courtesy : TNN