IN Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, a dalit landless worker, Sukai Ram, was murdered during the night of April 8-9 and his battered body was found on the main road near Atraulia block headquarters not far from his village. The police removed his body for post-mortem without even trying to contact his family.
People spontaneously collected when this news spread, his family members also arrived and all of them resorted to a roadblock. The district secretary of the CPI (M) and some party workers were also present. The police soon arrived and the SHO assured the agitators that the culprits would be arrested in 48 hours.
Unfortunately, no action was taken. Even the mandatory payment of one lakh ex gratia to the orphaned children, who had lost their mother earlier, was not made.
All other political parties in the area, including the ruling BSP, have not done anything. In fact, there have been reports that the culprits are being shielded by political leaders. This has angered the people in the area and this was expressed in their decision to boycott a BSP minister’s programme in the area on May Day. As a result, the programme was cancelled.
On May 2, the CPI (M) organised a dharna at the spot where Sukai Ram's body was found. Central Committee member Subhashini Ali also participated in the programme which was presided over by Ved Upadhyaya, its district secretary. The SDM then came and assured that the ex gratia would be paid in a week. Sukai Ram's daughters responded angrily, saying that they wanted justice, not money.
Demanding the presence of a senior police officer, all the participants, which included a large number of women, blocked the road for nearly an hour and got up only when the SP arrived. He announced that the police now knew who the culprits were and two of their relatives had just been taken into custody. He assured the people there that the culprits would definitely be booked.
What was remarkable was the tremendous resentment against the government among the people who all belonged to the dalit community. The participation by dalit youth and women in large numbers and their anger and militancy were all remarkable.
The agitation received good press publicity and is now being widely discussed and welcomed.
Source: People’s Democracy dated 23-05-2010