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MP: 2 Dalit kids beaten to death for open defecation

MP: 2 Dalit kids beaten to death for open defecation

Shivpuri: Two Dalit children, who did not have a toilet at home, were allegedly beaten to death by two upper-caste men for defecating near a village panchayat building in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district on Wednesday, police said.

The incident took place around 6.30 am at Bhavkedhi, 25 km from the district headquarters. The village, according to locals, had been declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF) on April 4, 2018.

The two alleged assailants, Hakam Yadav and his brother Rameshwar Yadav, were arrested soon after the incident, police said.

Manoj Balmiki, a labourer whose youngest sister Roshani (12) and his only son Avinash (10) became victims of the horrific crime, alleged that the family faced discrimination in the village due to their caste.

"We don't have a toilet at home. The children went out to defecate in the morning. Rameshwar and Hakam, who were standing near their handpump, shouted at them for defecating on the road and rained blows of lathis (sticks) on their heads while the children were relieving themselves, killing them in seconds," a tearful Balmiki told reporters.

"I saw the accused fleeing. The duo were caught by people some distance away," he said.

Balmiki alleged that he had had a spat with Rameshwar and Hakam two years ago when they accused him of hacking off a branch from their tree and hurled casteist slurs at him.

"We have to wait for an hour to draw water from the hand-pump. The entire village discriminates against us," Balmiki alleged.

Hakam and Rameshwar were arrested for murder under the IPC and the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, said inspector R S Dhakad of Sirsod police station.

Security was stepped up in the village following the incident, he added.

A police source said that after he was arrested, Hakam Yadav said he killed the kids as God had commanded him in his dream to kill "demons".

Roshani was Manoj Balmiki's sister. "I raised her after my mother died five years ago," he said.

Avinash studied in Class 1 while Roshani studied in Class 3, he said.

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