CPI(M) Delegation Visited Silai Baragaon

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

A CPI(M) delegation comprising of Subhashini Ali (Polit Bureau member), Vikram Singh (Central Committee member), Than Singh (Secretary, Moradabad  district), Javed Khan, Shabbu Khan (Rampur district) visited village Silai Baragaon, Rampur district, Uttar Pradesh on  March 4, 2024.  They met many men and women of the Dalit community in the village as well as the family members of Somesh Kumar, a class X student, who had been killed in an incident of police firing on February 27 in the village. 

The  villagers told the delegation that on January 21, on the Prime Minister’s call, the village Pradhan Smt. Ranjeet Kaur, supervised the cleaning up of an empty plot of land at the entrance of village which was being used as a rubbish dump and after it was cleared it was decided that the plot be converted into Dr. Ambedkar Park.  The entire village supported the move and a small brick platform was constructed in the middle of the empty plot and Dr. Ambedkar’s photograph was placed on it on February 10.  Children accompanied by their mothers from the Dalit basti started playing in the park.

After more than a week passed, there was some talk that some people from the dominant OBC community had approached the administration and complained about the Park.  No one from the administration spoke to the Dalit villagers about this or went to the spot for an inspection.

On February 27, at about 5 pm when there were only women and children in the Park, the SDM arrived with a police contingent and a bulldozer.  The women surrounded the platform determined not to allow any disrespect to be shown to Dr. Ambedkar’s photograph.  They were beaten with lathis and received injuries on their faces and limbs but they refused to budge.  The SDM then ordered the police to fire.  After a few bullets were fired, the women and children ran for their lives.  Somesh Kumar, son of  Shri  Premchand, a Class X student died on the spot.  Seeing this, the police and members of the administration moved away.  One other dalit youngster, Raispal, was seriously injured in the firing and taken to the hospital.

The villagers said that there has been no assurance from the Government that the guilty will be punished or that the family will get compensation.

One FIR filed by the Revenue official on February 29 is in the public domain.  In this he has named the son of the Pradhan and ‘some men and women’ as being guilty.  He has said that he received  (date not revealed) a complaint from someone in the village that the land was cleared so that it could be encroached and that the Ambedkar photo was placed in the night.  On the 24th itself he disposed of the matter – he does not mention that anyone from the village was questioned or asked for an explanation – and held that Gram Sabha land had been illegally encroached.  In continuation of this, the administration and police went to the spot on the 27th.  It appears that many of the facts in this FIR are distortions.  On the other hand, the FIR filed by Somesh’s father is not available on the Police website.  According to the Press, he has accused the administration and police of being responsible for his son’s death.

Our delegation feels that what has happened is a case of extremely brutality and callousness on the part of the Rampur administration which is now trying to  effect a ‘cover up’.  The SDM and one police officer have been transferred, which is not punishment.

We condemn this incident as being one which exposes the Manuvadi and oppressive face of the UP Government.  We demand that Somesh’s family be paid 1 crore rupees in compensation; one member of his family be given a government job;  the Ambedkar Park be constructed with  a statue of Dr. Ambedkar and a statue of Somesh Kumar.