Nitish in spot after Dalit man’s killing

October 12th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Oct 12 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is facing criticism from the opposition after a Dalit man was killed for attempting to offer prayers and perform rituals before an idol of goddess Durga.According to police, Karu Paswan, a landless Dalit, was shot dead Thursday allegedly by upper caste land owners, when he tried to pray to Durga, during the Dussehra festival at Jiar-Pindpar village under the Asthawan police station in Nalanda district, about 100 km from here.

“A Dalit man was killed, when he tried to offer prayerss to goddess Durga, by upper caste men in the chief minister’s home district. It has again exposed the hollowness of Nitish Kumar’s claims of good governance,” Shayam Rajak, general secretary of the main opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, said.

“Paswan’s killing has vindicated our stand that feudal forces are ruling the roost in Bihar. The weaker and marginalised sections like Dalit are soft targets for them.

“The shocking incident of a Dalit killing is not an isolated case in Bihar in last three years,” he said.

Ramchandra Paswan, MP of the Lok Janshakti Party and brother of central minister Ramvilas Paswan, said: “Dalits continue to be victimised by powerful people. Karu’s killing is an example.”

Communist Party of India (Marixist-Leninist) leader K.D. Yadav said the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) government was not providing security to Dalits but protecting powerful people.

Dalit outfits like the Dalit Sena and Dalit Sangharsh Morcha have demanded stern action against the culprits.

Deputy Superintendent of Police A.K. Satyarthi, who visited the village, said tension still prevailed in the areas.

“Police have lodged a case against four accused and arrested two of them,” he said.

In Nalanda and elsewhere in rural Bihar, Dalits are often either forcibly stopped or not allowed to pray in temples.

Dalits constitute nearly 15 percent of Bihar’s 83 million population.

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