Two Dalit youth killed for winning cricket
of two Dalits at village Santagarh district Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
A PUCL Delhi report by Shri Pushkar Raj
and Shri Vidya Bhushan Rawat.
see, On Bloody Pavilions - Dalit youths in this UP village win a game
of cricket but lose lives in the caste war, Outlook India, 23 Feb 2004
Two young dalits were
killed by some upper caste Rajputs charging them of theft in a village
A local social worker
Shri Ram Kumar requested PUCL to investigate the matter. The General Secretary
of PUCL, Dr. Y. P. Chhibbar deputed two member team comprising Shri Pushkar
Raj, General Secretary of PUCL-Delhi and Shri Vidya Bhushan Rawat, an
executive member of PUCL-Delhi to conduct a fact finding investigation
on the incident.
The team after visiting the village of incident and talking to the all
concerned submitted the report which is produced below.
place of incident
The matter pertains to a village Santagarh which is about four kilometers
from the district head quarter of Saharanpur, a sugar cane and mango growing
prosperous region of western Uttar Pradesh.
The village falls in Harora constituency of the state legislature from
where last time Mayawati had won an impressive victory. The village is
mainly inhabited by scheduled castes (SC) and as we were told has 600
votes. Hasanpur is the adjoining village with 2600 voters, with mixed
population, majority of them Rajputs.
Young men from both villagers indulge in friendly cricket matches with
a few hundred rupees at stake. But at times the scene gets ugly if lower
caste village (Santagarh’s) boys win. In the last three cricket
matches Santagarh trounced Hasanpur. During the last match there were
heated arguments, scuffles broke out and there were minor injuries on
both sides. Injuries healed but grudges survived.
Day: 21 December, Sunday. Time 10:30. Place: villager
cricket playground. Vikas son of Man Singh aged 21, who worked at local
brick kiln to support the family was playing cricket along with other
boys of village. He was batting with all the supporting gears, pad and
guard. Munish son of Vikram Singh, aged 20, who worked as a carpenter,
a piece of sugar cane in his hand, was on his way to join them. According
to the village eye witness four men on motor cycles arrived on the scene.
Two of them are identified as Karam Singh and Karan Singh, both from village
Hasanpur. “Village Pradhan (headman) is calling you”, they
are reported to have told Vikas. He wanted to talk about a theft of a
motor pump from one of the caller’s farm. Suspecting nothing untoward
he accompanied them. At the same time Munish was also asked to accompany
them. Rest of the boys kept playing cricket, expecting that the two would
join them soon.
Time: 2:30 afternoon. A boy comes running to the house
of Vikas. His father, a diminutive figure of sixty is told that his son
is killed by Rajputs and police have taken his body to hospital. He runs
to the hospital and is told that his son is dead. He is not shown the
dead body. He is told it has been taken for postmortem. Munish’s
father, around fifty and a patient of tuberculosis for the last five years
was luckier. When he reached the hospital his son was counting his last
breaths. He died in his lap.
The illiterate parents of the victims denied that there was any past enmity
of the boys with any body. According to them they have failed to understand
as to why their innocent sons were killed. The fact of the loss of their
son is slowly sinking, as one of the parents show you the photograph of
the victim. Vikas’s father told us that he had tied the tent in
the morning and had gone to play cricket as he was fond of the game. As
they were blissfully unaware at home like any other day they seemed to
have picked up pieces of information from the villagers who were on or
around the scene of the crime.
The father of Vikas had visited the hospital and had seen his son die
before his eyes, alleged that there were beating and torture marks all
over the body of his son. He said that his neck was almost broken.
They however alleged that there is a connivance of the village Pradhan
in the matter whose house probably was used in killing the two victims.
They felt agitated by the fact that though all the political parties have
made a big issue out of it they have failed to impress upon the police
to ensure that the four other alleged culprits are quickly identified
and arrested. They hoped and begged for the justice by ensuring that the
guilty are brought to the book at the earliest. Both the parents however
expressed skepticism whether that would happen!
The villagers said that there had been theft of motor pump from the farms
of one of the alleged culprits. The motor was traced at the shop of a
Kabadi (junk dealer) named Telu of Paragpur. The alleged culprits probably
suspected the victims and decided to teach them a lesson in their own
Some villagers who requested not to be named said that the alleged perpetrators
of the crime were men with criminal backgrounds. They are alleged to have
committed grave crimes including murder in not too distant past and had
got away with it because of their political influence and contacts in
police. Two ministers of the present government are said to have taken
keen interest in shielding them in the present case.
According to the villagers the victims were killed by placing their neck
on the center of tractor hydraulic (the rear part of tractor under which
ploughing iron rods are fitted) placing a lathi on upper part of it (neck)
and putting pressure on either side of it, thereby damaging the wind pipe.
This was borne out by the testimony of one of victim’s (Vikas )
father who had visited the hospital immediately after the incident.
The villagers also held the view that it was a way to put dalits in the
state of fear, intimidation and subjugation once again as Mayawati’s
government had been replaced by a government that has a considerable Rajput
influence. They think that those dalits who felt adequately secured and
empowered are being reverted back to their previous state by acts of brutal
intimidation and violence.
Village Pradhan said that he has been unwell since 12 Dec 2003. He produced
a medical certificate for us to see. He said that he has been advised
complete bed rest since then. He denied that he called anybody and sent
anyone for the victim. He further denied that his gher (where cattle are
tied and kept) was used for beating, torturing or killing the victims.
He said that the issue has snowballed because of the politicians.
The Pradhan alleged that the police have arrested wrong men. The arrested
man, Karam Singh, is not son of Charan Singh as mentioned in the FIR.
He is son of Jagat singh. The other person Karan Singh’s father’s
name is not at all mentioned in the FIR. What if there are three persons
whose name is Karan Singh in the village?
He further said that it was an act of violence by the mob. “How
can you identify people in a mob”, he asked. But he was unable to
explain as to why a mob would kill two young innocent boys who neither
had any criminal record nor any enmity with any body. Further he was hard
pressed to explain the fact of four men coming on motor cycles and taking
the boys away in front of many people on the pretext that the Pradhan
was calling them and at the same time talking about mob violence.
On being asked about the other four people mentioned in FIR, the village
Pradhan said that as the named persons are innocent and have been arrested,
the police in order to make up the number would one day arrest four more
The police denied that there had been any report filed with them regarding
the theft of the motor pump. However they did not deny that the matter
could be linked to it.
When we approached District Superintendent of Police Jitender Sonekar
(himself a dalit), he maintained that the case is politically sensitive
and therefore it has been handed over to CBCID. He advised us to contact
On being asked about the anomaly in FIR on which the entire case would
be based he denied that any impropriety had been committed on the part
of lower staff as the FIR has been registered by the near relatives of
Regarding, yet to be arrested four persons, he maintained that it was
difficult to identify people when the mob is involved.
The local powerful (dominant caste and rich) have no faith in the rule
of law. They prefer dispensing justice by themselves rather than go to
the police/ state.
The incident is the result of a well planned scheme to murder and not
an act of mob violence as some are trying to make it.
The reasons behind the act were many, some accumulated and some immediate:
The immediate provocation seems to be the theft of the motor pump and
suspected link of the victim with the same. A week back the alleged culprit’s
motor (with which under ground water is drawn at farm land) was stolen
from his farm. He is said to have made private investigation and traced
the motor to a Kabadi of Paragpur, a nearby village. The Kabadi is said
to have named the victims as thieves. There was no evidence to this affect
against the victim and neither a report was registered with the police.
Rajputs used the alibi of theft of motor pump, to teach the dalits of
Santagarh a lesson.
The main cause seems to be the defeat in successive cricket matches that
was considered an insult to Rajputs who considered themselves invincible
and the least to be beaten by the `subjugated and good for nothing’
The profile of victims: They
were the good players. They were vocal and upright. On earlier occasion
expressed their political empowerment (during Mayawati’s regime)
on winning cricket match in no uncertain terms.
The culprits were sure that they would go scot-free as they chose broad
light without fear. They felt somewhat emboldened by the fact that they
have a Rajput friendly government in Lucknow. The impact of Lucknow regime
is more than evident in structure and functioning and general behaviour
of the local bureaucracy. Village Pradhan is said to be a relative of
one of the minister in UP government.
The connivance of police with the alleged culprits is quite clear. It
is borne out from the wrong names that were mentioned in FIR. In essence
the FIR is totally fabricated.
Police has been abysmally slow in investigating the case. It is evident
from the fact that four other men mentioned in FIR are yet to be identified
The FIR must be changed. For one it should be registered under section
302 instead of existing 147, 148 and 304. Secondly the names of the alleged
perpetrators of the crime should be correctly mentioned. Otherwise the
case will be too week to stand the trial.
The case should be handed over to CBI. The local police have proved incompetent.
The move to handover to CBCID is to bury it indefinitely.
The erring police men in this regard (tampering with the FIR) must be
brought to book. A departmental inquiry should be initiated against them.
The compensation given to the families of the victims’ is abysmally
low. No amount is adequate to compensate the parents of the victim for
the loss of their dear ones. Still mere Rs. 1.5 lakh cannot be said to
be adequate for emotional and economic loss of the two families. At least
a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh must be given to the victims’ families.
The case must proceed with alacrity so that the people’s faith in
the law is not shaken.