- Asif Ali
- From Almora for BBC Hindi
6 hours ago
A Dalit youth has been murdered in Uttarakhand’s Almora district. This young man was killed for marrying an upper caste girl. This incident has created a stir in Uttarakhand and the police have arrested the killers.
The murdered youth, Jagdish Chandra, was a resident of Panwadyokhan village in Almora district of Uttarakhand. He fell in love with Geeta from Bilti village of Bhikiyasain nearby. The moment Geeta saw Jagdish, he felt like the prince of her dreams.
Geeta was overwhelmed by Jagdish’s behavior. She did not see his caste, religion, money as an obstacle. She decides to marry Jagdish regardless of society. Both went to the temple and got married on August 21.
This marriage with a Dalit boy was frowned upon by Geeta’s family.
Geeta demanded police protection because Jagdish was under threat from his family.
Jagdish passed away on September 1, just a few days after the wedding.
On September 1, Jagdish Chandra was found injured in a van. Geeta’s step brother and parents were also in the van at that time.
After that, Jagdish was shifted to the hospital. But doctors declared him dead.
Jagdish’s family members say that Geeta’s family did not see that a Dalit boy married an upper caste girl. And it was they who brutally killed Jagdish.
Geeta’s family is under arrest in connection with Jagdish’s murder, while Geeta is currently kept in Nari Niketan.
Jagdish Chandra was a resident of Panavadyokhan in Salt area. 50 Dalit families live in that village.
The government scheme ‘Ghar-Ghar Nal, Ghar-Ghar Jal’ is starting in Bhikiyasain area, which is 40 km away from Panavadyokhan. This scheme was running under the supervision of Kavita Manral of that area. Jagdish used to work there.
Jagdish fell in love with Geeta from Bilti village in the same area. Born into an upper caste, Geeta alias Guddi lived with her mother, stepfather Joga Singh and stepbrother.
Geeta and Jagdish got married on August 21 in a temple. But since Jagdish is a Dalit, Geeta’s family members say that this marriage is not accepted by Jagdish’s family.
The people of both Panavadyokhan and Bilti villages have a difference of opinion as to where Jagdish kept Geeta after marriage. The villagers are not ready to say a word about how exactly the love affair of these two started. Villagers say that we do not know anything about this.
Even though the villagers do not speak openly about this issue, there is talk in the surrounding area that Jagdish was killed because he was a Dalit.
Darshan Lal, a social activist who has been working for Dalit interests for the past 40 years, says, “Gita married a Scheduled Caste boy against her will. Her family did not accept it and this unfortunate incident happened.”
Darshanlal further states that caste discrimination still exists in Uttarakhand. Dalits always face humiliating conditions and oppression. But as many crimes are not reported, those cases do not come forward.
Darshanlal has not provided any figures for what he claims. But in Uttarakhand many incidents of atrocities on Dalits have come to light.
Geeta had written a letter to Almora SSP…
Geeta’s stepfather and her stepbrother do not get along with Geeta. She had written a letter to SSP Almora on August 27 as Jagdish’s life was being threatened by his own family members. In this letter, it was said that she should provide security to her husband.
According to Geeta’s letter, “On May 26, Geeta had gone to Almodaya with Jagdish Chandra. That’s when they both wanted to get married but she didn’t have her age certificate. She was arranging for her certificate. On June 17, suddenly her stepfather came in front of her. He forcibly took her home. Beaten severely. Tired of her father’s interrogation, she left home on 7th August and reached Bhikiyasain. Jagdish was there. They both went to the temple and got married on 21st August.
On the whole matter, Almora SSP Pradeep Kumar Rai said, “Circle officer of Ranikhet is investigating the matter.”
On the police not providing any security on Geeta’s letter, he said, “After the victim gave the letter on August 27, the police searched the place mentioned in the letter. But no one was found at that address. The phone number mentioned in the letter was not there.”
After Jagdish’s murder, the SSP of Almora says that strict action will be taken against those involved in the murder.
On the other hand, Ranikhet Circle Officer TR Verma said, “The boy belonged to the Schedule Caste. Therefore, action has been taken under 302 SC/ST Act. The boy was a Dalit and the girl belonged to the Rajput community. Therefore, the girl’s family was upset.”
TR Verma adds, “Prima facie it appears that the boy was abducted and then murdered.”
Jagdish’s financial situation was also bad.
Jagdish’s family consists of four members namely his mother Bhaguli Devi, elder brother Prithvipal, younger brother Dilip Kumar and younger sister Ganga.
His elder brother Prithvipal supports the family by doing wage labor in the village.
Younger brother Dilip Kumar works as a laborer for an electricity contractor. While younger sister Ganga has studied 12th. She stays at home with her mother.
Jagdish’s death has brought grief to his family.
The village of Jagdish is situated at a distance of 40 km from Jim Corbett National Park in Ramnagar.
Jagdish completed his schooling in the village itself. After the death of his father, the burden of the entire family fell on him.
Jagdish was working in Jal Sansthan for the last 12 years as a contract maintenance and repair of pipe line. And his family was living on this income.
Jagdish was also associated with Parivartan Party of Uttarakhand. He had also contested the last two assembly elections on the Parivarnat Party ticket. Although he faced defeat both times, he was an active party worker.
After Jagdish’s death, his elderly mother Bhaguli Devi is holding him in bed. Comforters keep coming to his house. His mother says that she never dreamed that her son would get such a big punishment for loving. She wants her son to get justice.
Uttarakhand Scheduled Castes Commission Chairman Mukesh Kumar also visited Jagdish’s house.
He said that due to the lack of education among people, such incidents are increasing. He said that a program will be started to create awareness among the people. The chairman of the commission said.
He has taken a stand to bring Jagdish justice. Also, concern has been expressed about the future of Geeta living in Nari Niketan.
Everyone is angry in Geeta’s village
But the people of Geeta’s village are not ready to talk about it.
After many attempts some people were ready to speak. Some of them say that they were not aware that Geeta and Jagdish were having an affair. He says that this incident is very shocking for us too.
Village head Bhavna Devi told the BBC, “If Geeta wants to come to the village in the future, the villagers will discuss among themselves and then a decision will be taken.”
What do the police say?
Circle officer TR Verma, who is investigating the case, says that Jagdish and one of his friends used to work under Kavita Mineral, a contractor.
On September 1, Jagdish was stopped by two people on Bhikiyasain Road, Selpani while going to work around 8 am. Jagdish was accompanied by his friend who scared him and ran away.
Jagdish’s friend, who had run away, called Kavita and informed about the incident. But Kavita was not there at that time. When she returned at six o’clock, she lodged an FIR with the Revenue Sub-Inspector of the tehsil informing about the incident.
The work of the police force in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand is divided into two divisions. Some parts come under the jurisdiction of the regular police, while some parts are supervised by the revenue police.
The area where the incident took place falls under the jurisdiction of the Revenue Police. After the FIR, both the police started investigating the matter.
According to the police, on September 1 around 10.30 pm, the police intercepted a van. The van was driven by Geeta’s step brother. His parents were sitting behind.
When the police searched the van, Jagdish was lying dead under the seat. The police immediately shifted him to the hospital but doctors declared him brought dead.
A case under section 364 and 302 has been registered against Geeta’s parents and brothers.
Also, since Jagdish belongs to Schedule Cast, action has been taken against the killers under 302 SC/ST Act.
Considering the seriousness of the case, the circle officer of Ranikhet has been entrusted with the investigation. The forensic team is also assisting in the investigation.
Jagadish is no longer alive, Geeta Nari is in Niketan, her family is in jail. Jagdish’s old mother and siblings have been overwhelmed with grief there. His family doesn’t know what will happen next but his elderly mother keeps hoping that Jagdish will get justice.
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