PATNA : Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi faced a major setback to his “Dalit engineering” when a Mahadalit boy was roasted alive by four upper caste men of Mohanpur village under Karakat police station in Rohtas district.
“The 15-year- old boy Sai Ram was burnt alive by Arvind Singh alias Kunkun Singh on Wednesday after his goat grazed on Singh’s paddy field” said Superintendent of Police Chandan Kushwaha.”
“Police have arrested the accused and registered a murder case against Kumkum,” Kushwaha added.
According to the report, he had suffered 90 per cent burn injuries and died in Bikramganj hospital.
The police have registered a case against Kumkum and his three associates on the basis of the statement of the victim’s father Jitu Ram. Meanwhile, Manjhi a Mahadalit himself, ordered fast trial in the case and also announced compensation of `5 lakh to the victim’s family.
The state has witnessed a sudden spurt in crimes against Mahadalits. Only last week six Mahadalit girls were raped by upper castemen in Kurmuri village of Bhojpur district.
One of the accused happened to be a former activist of Ranvir Sena ( one time militant organisation of upper castes). Last month, hundreds of Mahadalits of Pura village of Gaya district were forced to flee their homes when a young man from among them dared to file nomination papers in the election to the primary agriculture cooperative society (PACS).
He was killed by upper castemen of the village. However, later they returned after much persuasion and assurance by government officials.
Manjhi himself had stated publicly said that he too had been discriminated against for being a Mahadalit when a temple in Madhubani district was purified after his visit though he was the Chief Minister of the state. However, recently he sanctioned `55 lakh for the development of the same temple.
This move was also seen a move to sent a strong political message to the people of the area. All the three major incidents of Mahadalit atrocities incidentally happened in the districts of South Bihar, which were considered the fiefdom of Maoists and Ranvir Sena only a few years back, and Manjhi himself hails from the same area.
The recent spurt in violence against the Mahadalits may undermine Manjhi’s attempts to cultivate a new loyal social base for himself which will help him to assert himself politically in caste- ridden Bihar.