Vil­lagers in MP pour kerosene in Dal­its’ well to take ‘re­venge’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Pramod Car­pen­ter

A Dalit vil­lager’s de­ci­sion to hire a band party to wel­come the bride­groom at his daugh­ter’s wed­ding in a vil­lage in Mad­hya Pradesh drew a cruel ret­ri­bu­tion from up­per caste vil­lagers, who al­legedly poured kerosene into a well used by the lower castes.

The in­ci­dent in Mana vil­lage in Agar Malwa dis­trict, about 200km from the state cap­i­tal, last week once again un­der­lined caste fault lines in the coun­try.

As the Dal­its could not drink the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter, they dug a hole on the banks of the Kal­isindh river for an al­ter­nate source of wa­ter. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, they also used a pump to suck out the con­tam­i­nated wa­ter in the well.

On Sat­ur­day, dis­trict col­lec­tor DV Singh and su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice RS Meena went to the vil­lage, drank wa­ter from the well used by Dal­its in or­der to re­as­sure them and also talked to the mem­bers of the up­per caste.

The col­lec­tor also an­nounced in the area where the Dal­its live. “The con­tam­i­nated wa­ter has been pumped out and the wa­ter is potable,” he said.

On April 23, Chan­der Meghwal, a 45-year-old Dalit had wel­comed the groom for his daugh­ter Mamta’s wed­ding with a band party, de­spite a warn­ing by the dom­i­nant up­per castes that he would face so­cial boy­cott if he hired a band party. Ac­cord­ing to vil­lage tra­di­tion, the Dal­its are only al­lowed to use ‘dhol’ to wel­come the groom.

Meghwal had in­formed the ad­min­is­tra­tion about the threat and the mar­riage took place un­der po­lice pro­tec­tion. But the de­fi­ance did not go down well with the up­per castes and they

Ut­tar Pradesh di­rec­tor gen­eral of po­lice Sulkhan Singh has con­sti­tuted a spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion team (SIT) to probe a multi-crore petrol pump scam ex­posed through raids at seven petrol pumps in the state cap­i­tal.

The raids, con­ducted by the spe­cial task force (STF) on the in­ter­ven­ing night of Thurs­day and Fri­day, re­vealed that the petrol pump own­ers were us­ing a hi-tech chip-based de­vice to dis­pense lower quan­ti­ties of petrol to con­sumers than what they paid for. The po­lice ac­tion had fol­lowed the ar­rest of an elec­tric tech­ni­cian — iden­ti­fied as Ra­jen­dra — who con­fessed to in­stalling the “cheat chip” at petrol pumps across UP and beyond.

The raids also led to the ar­rest of 22 oth­ers, in­clud­ing four petrol pumps own­ers, after seven sep­a­rate FIRS were reg­is­tered in this con­nec­tion. At least 15 elec­tronic chips and 29 re­mote de­vices were seized from these sta­tions. The of­fi­cials sealed the seven petrol pumps, and can­cel­la­tion of their li­cences has been rec­om­mended.

Singh said the SIT was formed be­cause an ex­clu­sive team is re­quired for con­duct­ing a proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the scam.

The team, headed by an Igprank of­fi­cer, will probe all the seven FIRS reg­is­tered in the case. More will be filed if re­quired.

Singh has also is­sued an ad­vi­sory to all dis­trict mag­is­trates and su­per­in­ten­dents of po­lice across the state, ask­ing them to form teams com­pris­ing of­fi­cials from the dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion, law en­force­ment, food and civil sup­ply, and weight and mea­sure­ment de­part­ments, to con­duct raids on petrol pumps. They have also been told to or­gan­ise sem­i­nars aimed at sen­si­tis­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and pub­lic on the cheat­ing mech­a­nism.

Ac­cord­ing to se­nior su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice (STF) Amit Pathak, ini­tial probe re­vealed that around 80% petrol pumps


SS Ra­jamouli’s mag­num opus Baahubali 2: The Con­clu­sion net­ted over ₹100 crore at the ticket win­dow in the coun­try on the day of its re­lease. Trade sources say it is the big­gest-ever open­ing for an In­dian film.

Orig­i­nally made in Tel­ugu, the sec­ond part in the fran­chise was dubbed in Tamil, Hindi and Malay­alam.

Film­maker Karan Jo­har, who is pre­sent­ing the Hindi ver­sion of the film, too tweeted his joy over the bumper open­ing of the film.

“Un­think­able and unimag­in­able high­est ever day 1 be­ing tab­u­lated ..will take a while!!! Watch this space for the num­ber! #Baahubali,” he tweeted.

Ac­cord­ing to trade an­a­lyst Taran Adarsh, the Hindi ver­sion of the film col­lected ₹36.54 crore. “Truly sen­sa­tional... ₹36.54. Hindi,” Taran tweeted.

The Tel­ugu ver­sion of the film net­ted a whop­ping ₹53 crore, ac­cord­ing to trade an­a­lyst Tri­nath.

“The film has taken a phe and Te­lan­gana, the film in Tel ugu minted ₹53 crore, mak­ing it the big­gest open­ing ever for any film across lan­guage in the two states. The film is ex­pected to col­lect over ₹100 crore from the two states over the week­end,” he said. In Tamil Nadu, the film col lected around ₹12 crore on the first day.

“If the early morn­ing shows were not can­celled across Tami Nadu on Fri­day, the film could have col­lected even more Ac­cord­ing to early es­ti­mates, it has minted around ₹12 crore. It’s go­ing pick up over the week end...,” Tri­nath added.

In Ker­ala, the film is be­lieved to have col­lected around ₹7 crore on Fri­day.

In the US, from Thurs­day pre mieres, the film raked in $2.5 mil lion. The film stars Prab­has Rana Dag­gu­bati, Anushka Shetty Ta­man­naah Bha­tia

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