CHANDIGARH: The family of 37-year old Jagmale Singh, a dalit man who was tortured to death in Sangrur district, has agreed to cremate his body after the Punjab government on Monday offered to pay compensation of Rs 20 lakh, a government job to his wife and free education for his children. Six cases of atrocities on dalits are reported daily in Punjab, where they comprise more than 31 per cent of the population -- the highest in the country -- while many incidents go unreported.
Sandeep Sandhu, political secretary to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said a compensation of Rs 20 lakh including Rs 8.15 lakh provided under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act will be given to the next of kin. Besides this, a sum of Rs 1.25 lakh would also be given for the repair of their house. The government will also bear the education expenditure of the three children of Jagmel till graduation and a Group-D government job would be given to his wife Manjit Kaur after relaxing the rules as she has only passed Class V.
Besides, an Additional Director General of Police rank officer will conduct a probe to find out any lapse on the part of police in the case and a challan against all the four accused would be submitted within seven days, he further said.
The family of Singh who was tied to a pillar, forced to drink urine and mercilessly thrashed when he asked four Jat Sikh landlords of his native Changaliwal village in Sangrur for water on November 7, ended their protest after they agreed to the offers made by the state government, three days after his death at the PGIMER here. On Saturday morning, Jagmale succumbed to the injuries and infection that had spread in his legs.
Earlier the family demanded Rs 50 lakh as compensation and a government job for the wife of the deceased. All the four accused have been arrested and charged under Section 302 (murder), abduction, wrongful confinement and relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Member of Parliament from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann of the AAP also raised the issue in Parliament on Monday. Meanwhile, many unions and leaders of various political parties had come out in support of the family.
Sources said that as per data available with the Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission, around 2,000 cases of atrocities on dalits are reported every year on average. This year till October, 1,150 cases were reported, while there were 1,685 cases in 2018, 2,435 in 2017, 1,900 in 2016 and 1,982 in 2015.
Last month, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) stated in its report that 118 cases of atrocities on dalits were reported in 2017 (of these in 87 cases Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was applied), 132 cases in 2016 and 147 cases in 2015.