Dalit farm worker killed in caste conflict

The Times of India News Service

MEERUT: A 40-year-old dalit agricultural labourer was tortured and humiliated before being shot dead in front of his wife and others at Kabaraut village, 35 km from Muzaffarnagar, allegedly by some influential persons, on Tuesday evening.

Tension has been brewing in the area and its nearby villages as the villagers are divided on caste lines.

The denial by the agricultural worker, Samendra Sain, to hand over his patta (land), on which he had grown wheat and was harvesting the crop, to members of an upper caste family apparently provoked the latter to torture him to death. Sain had been reportedly given the land along with other landless dalits during the chief ministership of Mayawati.

However, this piece of land soon became a bone of contention when the members of the upper caste staked their claim to it, saying that it originally belonged to them and that the authorities had taken it away from them at the behest of some BSP leaders a couple of years ago.

According to the police, two persons belonging to the village were named in the FIR lodged at the Phugana police station. However, police sources said the culprits had not been arrested so far because of political pressure.

However, additional SP (Muzaffarnagar) Tehsildar Singh said the persons named in the FIR would be arrested soon.

The FIR, lodged by Sain's wife, said that on Tuesday evening, when she and her husband was sitting in their one-room tenement, four persons with firearms and sharp-edged weapons forcibly entered the house and dragged Sain out. They then allegedly tortured and humiliated him before the villagers who failed to come to his rescue. They subsequently shot him.

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