ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Understanding Caste Dynamics

Atrocity against Dalits in Bihar

While the Dalit upsurge in Una in Gujarat received widespread attention, an atrocity against Dalit youths being thrashed in Muzaffarpur, Bihar at the same time did not. It remained merely a Paswan versus Bhumihar confrontation. Dalits remain a differentiated group in Bihar, and have a long way to go before the community can rise above the imperatives of the here and now and assert as a conglomeration. 

In July 2016, when the national media was gazing into the Dalit upsurge in Una taluk of Gir Somnath district, Gujarat, another relatively under-reported incident of Dalit assertion occurred in a colony called Babu Tola in Paroo block in Muzaffarpur district, Bihar. Two Dalit youths, Rajiv Paswan and Munna Paswan, allegedly attempted to steal a motorbike of a local Bhumihar. The two Paswans were thrashed by a mob and a member of the mob urinated into the mouth of one of the Paswans. Rajiv Paswan’s mother, Sunita Devi, lodged a first information report with the Paroo police against 11 persons, including Mukesh Thakur, the husband of the village sarpanch.

The police arrested two of the 11 accused, and confirmed the thrashing of the two Dalits, while the allegation of urination was said to have not been substantiated. Meanwhile, the opposition parties in Bihar made it a big issue, using it as a stick with which to beat Nitish Kumar’s ruling government. The Union Minister and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president, Ram Vilas Paswan, visited the family of the two Dalit youths and demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

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