Fresh trouble for Ashok Gehlot as 12 Cong councillors quit following Dalit boy’s death

Days after the death of a nine-year-old Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten up by his schoolteacher for touching a drinking water pot in Rajasthan’s Jalore, 12 Congress councillors in the Baran Municipal Council on Tuesday sent their resignation letters to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and expressed their anguish over atrocities being faced by the Dalits.

These councillors supported party MLA Pana Chand Meghwal who on Monday sent his resignation letter to Gehlot.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Tuesday reached the boy’s home and said a strong message needs to be given to win the Dalit community’s trust. “Such incidents need to be strongly condemned. We need to put a check on such incidents. Only laws, speeches and actions are not enough. We will have to give them a strong message that we are with them in order to instil trust in them,” Pilot said, adding, “Family said he was buried during night. Lathi charge done on family.”

Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra also visited the boy’s home with state cabinet ministers and announced financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the family from the party fund and promise a speedy trial.

Twelve of the 25 Congress councillors in the Baran civic body expressed anguish over atrocities against the Dalits and deprived sections. Ward No.29 councillor Yogendra Mehta said they sent their resignation letters in support of Meghwal and against the government’s failure to protect the Dalits.

The other councillors who tendered their resignation are – Rohitashva Saxena, Rajaram Meena, Rekha Meena, Leeladhar Nagar, Hariraj Erwal, Piyush Soni, Urvashi Meghwal, Yashwant Yadav, Anwar Ali, Jyoti Jatav and Mayank Mathodia.

Nominated councillor of the Kota’s Itawa civic body Suresh Mahawar also sent his resignation letter to the chief minister.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has announced Rs 5 lakh to the family from the CM relief fund. Rajasthan Education Minister BD Kalla said the government is in process of terminating affiliation of the private school in which the incident took place.

State Congress chief Dotasra said the boy’s family members had resentment against the local police and they have been assured that action against the guilty will be taken. One police constable was suspended on Tuesday, he said.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Jalore has said it is doubtful that the boy was beaten by the teacher for being from the Meghwal caste and touching the water pot. “I have talked to villagers and others, and as per them, there is doubt that the incident occurred because the boy was Meghwal and he touched the water pot. There is no doubt that the boy was beaten up by the teacher and he died. The accused teacher has been arrested. Inquiries are being conducted. Whether he was beaten up for being a Meghwal and touching the water pot, let it be clear in the investigation. Only after the findings, statements should be given,” Garg said in a video statement.

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