In an exhaustive investigation, Republic TV has exposed what appears to be the coverup of an incident of brutal atrocity against Dalits in Rajasthan. The Republic SIT probe involves a shocking video from Karanu village of Nagaur, Rajasthan, that had surfaced on February 16, in which a group of men attacked and heinously assaulted two Dalit men inside a scooter shop on allegations of stealing.
After the attack, Deputy CM Sachin Pilot had said that the Congress government will have to take the responsibility and they will have to ensure that investigation is done. "As party president, when we were in opposition, we stood up against any such atrocities that took place and now that we are in government, it is our responsibility to make sure that the poor amongst us, especially the Dalits, are not made to face the kind of atrocities that recently occurred," Pilot had said. A fact-finding committee was then formed.
In a sting operation done by Republic TV's Priyanka Sharma on the RLP MLA Narayan Beniwal, the MLA conceded that the Superintendent of Police tried to broker a deal between the Dalit victims and Rajput perpetrators. However, the victim's lawyer told Republic TV that the SP is being made a scapegoat. He said that no government - be it Congress or BJP - takes action against Rajputs. In this case, an FIR was only filed on Feb 19 when the issue became national and after the victims refused to accept the money, he said. Police, on the other hand, claim that they have done a speedy investigation.
When approached for his remarks, Khinwsar MLA Narayan Beniwal refused, only revealing upon being stung that the victims were called for a settlement.
"But on February 19, Police asked for a compromise. No, they told this to them. They also called Rajput(s) to do the settlement. They said 'take 40-50 thousand rupees and do the settlement'. But the victims said 'we will not do the settlement, we want to file an FIR'. His brother was living in the neighborhood. He had seen that video. So, he came there. (inaudible) police filed the FIR at 3:30 pm on February 19," Narayan Beniwal said.
Speaking to Republic TV, the victim's lawyer Gautam Nayak refuted the claims that Police was responsible and said: "Before this video went viral, the victim's family had the pressure of the local residents that if they filed a complaint, the family would not be allowed to stay in the village and that they'll be brutally thrashed again. Owing to this fear, the family did not go to the police station to file a fir for 3 days."
He added: "The minister of Samaj Kalyan Vibhag, they had come here with their team. He was heading the committee and as per their inquiry. Whatever they asked us and the information that we gave them. Maybe that information was twisted and presented because we did not give any such information from our side that the attitude of the police was negative or that the police refused to file an FIR or that they asked for a bribe or whether the SP and S.H.O were involved in this. We have not given any such kind of information."
Meanwhile, speaking to Republic, Deputy SP Mukul Sharma refuted all claims and said that investigation went swiftly in the case and seven people were arrested. "Very few cases of such caste-based violence are filed in which the police officials act very swiftly. In this matter, 7 accused were arrested within 24 hours of filing the case. The remaining two accused have also been arrested. The strictest possible sections have been added in the case. We will produce a strong charge-sheet in the court."
Speaking to Republic TV, Congress Mahesh Sharma also a member of the fact-finding committee, said: "I don't really know what SP is saying. Okay? And every person would try to save his subordinate. Right? And this is a matter of investigation. Who is he to give the clean chit?"