Dalit man killed after being forced to drink acid

July 26th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, July 26 (IANS) A poor landless Dalit man died after he was forced to drink acid for his refusal to work in the field of a powerful upper caste land owner in a Bihar village, police officials said Saturday. Devanand Manjhi, 32, a resident of Adlipur Neura Mushhari Tola, about 30 km from here and in Patna district, was killed when he refused to work in the field of Naresh Singh and Bablu Singh of neighbouring Kasadhi village.

Devanand was first forced to drink acid by Singh and their henchmen. Then acid was poured on his bare body and later he was mercilessly beaten by them for refusing to work, said Ramashish Manjhi, the victim’s brother.

Ramashish said that early Friday morning Naresh and Bablu Singh visited his house to ask Devanand to work in their field.

“When I informed them that my brother was already working in the field of someone else, they got angry and asked how he dared to work in the field of another person. They abused and threatened to punish him for it,” said Ramashish.

A few hourss later Friday, he was told by villagers that Devanand was killed and his body was lying in the field.

“When I reached the spot, some villagers, who were witness to his killing, informed me that Devanand was killed by Singh who forced him to drink acid as punishment,” he said.

Angry villagers, mostly Dalits, protested the killing of Devanand and demanded compensation for his family.

Devanand, who belonged to the Mushahar community, one of the poorest among Dalits, has two children.

Dhruv Kumar Singh, the officer in-charge of Bihta police station, said that a case was registered against the accused and raids were being conducted to nab them.

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

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