ST man beaten to death for allegedly trying to dance in Ganesh procession in Telangana

Bijili Mallesh's family said that the incident took place around 9 pm on September 14, when a Ganesh idol was being taken out in a procession.
ST man beaten to death for allegedly trying to dance in Ganesh procession in Telangana
ST man beaten to death for allegedly trying to dance in Ganesh procession in Telangana
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Telangana is said to have witnessed the smooth celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, but it was not without an incident of caste discrimination in Bhootpur in Mahbubnagar district. A 23-year-old man belonging to a Scheduled Tribe (ST) community died in the village earlier this month after he was allegedly attacked by members of the Goud community, categorised as Backward Class (BC), over wanting to dance in a procession for Ganesh Chaturthi. The family members of Bijili Mallesh and Dalit activists said that the incident took place at around 9 pm on September 14. Mallesh’s uncle, Bijili Balraju, said that a Ganesh idol which was set up at a temple in the village was being taken out in a procession through the streets.

Speaking to TNM, Balraju said, “Mallesh and his friends were witnessing the procession as it was passing through their locality. Expressing their wish to dance in front of the deity, they tried dancing. However, infuriated with that, the Goud men who were instigated by the Sarpanch's husband thrashed Mallesh and repeatedly punched him in the chest and other sensitive parts while hurling casteist abuses.”

“They thrashed him and yelled, asking how he could dance in front of the village deity as he belongs to the Yerukala community. His mother, father and brother, who tried to prevent the scuffle were also attacked. He was taken to hospital immediately but while undergoing treatment, he succumbed to the injuries at 5 am on September 15.”

Yerukala, categorised as Scheduled Tribes (ST) in Telangana is a marginalised community which is traditionally engaged in pig farming. Mallesh’s family members and other activists tried to bury his body in front of the Sarpanch’s house, accusing her husband of being the man behind the death of the youth. 

Balraju said that of the total population of the village at 2,500, it has four Yerukala families and a small number of other Dalit communities like Malas and Madigas. He alleged that the village still practices untouchability and Dalits are not allowed into the temple.

Police have registered a case of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocity) Act. While residents said that around 10 people had been arrested and sent to remand, the main accused, Narsimlu Goud, who is the Sarpanch’s husband, is yet to be arrested. 

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) district president Tokala Krishna alleged that the main accused, who belongs to the ruling TRS party, was trying to escape using his power and influence. Krishna said, “The police should arrest the main accused as well and do justice to the family of the deceased who lost his life in the attack.” TNM has contacted the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Bhoothpur police and is awaiting a response.

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