Protests Day in UP Against Killing of Dalit Student in Allahabad And Humiliation of Dalits in Mirzapur

A statewide protest was called by CPI(ML) on 15 February against the brutal murder of Dalit student Dileep Saroj, who was pursuing his LL.B. in Allahabad University. He hailed from Pratapgarh district. On 10 February, Dileep was mercilessly beaten to death in a restaurant where he had gone with two other friends to eat. On 10 February, when he was in the restaurant, a person named Vijay Shankar also reached there along with his driver and some other people. An argument broke between Dileep and Vijay over touching of feet while coming and going in the restaurant and soon the argument turned into fight and the attackers beat up Dileep so mercilessly that he went into coma and succumbed to the injuries the day after. The attacker Vijay Shankar Singh hails from Sultanpur and he has connections with BJP and with criminal leaders like the former MLA Monu Singh. Till two days after the incident, the Allahabad police continued to keep quiet and did not even put the SC-ST Act in the FIR. Meanwhile the attackers escaped and it was only when the people’s protests intensified and the pressure was built on the Yogi government that the police come into action and arrested the attackers after four days.

The protest demonstrations were held across several districts. The CPI(ML) submitted a memorandum to the governor demanding- i. strict punishment for the killers, ii. Rs. 50 lakh compensation for the family of the deceased and employment; iii. Investigation into the role of the police. Other key demands included that an end be put to increasing incidents of violence against Dalits and that the complaints of dalits be heard and registered in the police stations. Further, the party also demanded that cases under National Security Act be withdrawn against dalit leader from Saharanpur, Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ and that he be released immediately.

Another case of Dalit oppression in Mirzapur was raised by the party which involves forcible grabbing of land that belonged to Dalits by a feudal Pradhan of Kotwa Pandey village, the police instead of acting against the culprits humiliated and spit on a 70 year old Dalit man Baiju who was protesting land grab. It was demanded that the concerned sub-inspector of the police be suspended and sent behind bars. An angry protest took place in Mirzapur over this incident. Besides Mirzapur, protests were also held in Bhadohi, Sonebhadra, Chandauli, Gazipur, Mau, Kushinagar, Jalaun, Muradabad and other places. Earlier, protest programmes were organized in state capital-Lucknow on 13 February and in Varanasi on 14 February. AISA registered a strong protest in Allahabad.