NAGPUR, Maharashtra — The district collector and the Superintendent of Police of Guna district in Madhya Pradesh were removed from their positions late night on Wednesday after a Dalit couple attempted suicide by pesticides when the police removed them from a land they had cultivated and destroyed their crops.
The videos and photographs of police assaulting the couple and their relatives, and images of their children sobbing as the parents fell unconscious went viral on social media, sparking outrage.
In a series of tweets, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath condemned the incident and said, “ Where is this Shivraj Singh government taking us? What kind of Jungle Raj is this? Look at the way a Dalit farmer couple has been attacked inhumanly by the policemen. If there was a dispute regarding government land, it could have been solved through legal means. But what kind of justice is it to take the law into hands and thrash him, his wife, his relatives, and his innocent kinds? Will the Shivraj government show the same alacrity over the thousands of acres of land grabbed by so-called people’s servants and prominent people? Such incidents can never be tolerated. The culprits should be punished strictly or else the Congress won’t keep silent.”
Before he was removed, the district collector S.Vishwanathan was quoted by the Indian Express that, “The (farm) land was reserved for a government model college. Rajkumar Ahirwar (38) and his wife Savitri (35) were working on the land. Gabbu Pardi, who had encroached on the land, had given them work.”
Earlier today, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also tweeted the video of the incident and said that his party’s fight was against such thinking and injustice.
According to some reports, the Ahirwar couple had borrowed Rs.2 lakhs to cultivate the leased land which, the government officials claimed, was marked for construction of a collage.
The Ahirwar couple’s condition is reported to be stable at a government hospital in Guna where they are being treated. But Madhya Pradesh police have booked them for trying to obstruct public servants from performing their duty.
Guna was the Lok Sabha constituency of former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia who recently switched over to the BJP.