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Three more held for forcing Dalit man to lick slippers in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra

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Three more persons have been arrested for beating up a Dalit man and forcing him to lick his slippers in this Uttar Pradesh district, police said on Monday.

A video purportedly of the incident went viral on social media, they said, adding that the accused, a contractual employee of the electricity department, has been “terminated from the service”.

Circle Officer (Ghorawal) Amit Kumar said three more people have been held, taking the total number of arrests made in connection with the incident to four.

All the arrests were made on Sunday evening, police said.

In his complaint submitted to police on July 8, Rajendra Chamar said he belongs to the Scheduled Castes (SC) category.

“On July 6, he had gone to his maternal uncle’s place where the electricity supply was disrupted. He was trying to locate the fault when the contractual employee of the power department, Tejbali Singh Patel, started hurling abuses at him.

He hurled casteist words at the complainant and also made him lick his chappal.Subsequently, the locals intervened,” a police officer had said on Sunday.

Based on the complaint, a case was registered against Patel under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, Kumar had said.

In the video, the power department employee is seen twisting one arm of the complainant, pushing him on to the ground, climbing up on his chest and slapping him.

He is also seen forcing the complainant to lick his slippers.”The three people who were arrested later are Ajay Patel and Ravi Yadav, who made the video of the incident and posted it on social media, and Vishram Vishwakarma, who called up the three after which the incident took place,” Kumar told PTI on Monday.

Police said accused Tejbali Singh Patel, Ajay Patel and Ravi Yadav had also beaten up the complainant, threatened to kill him and taken Rs 2,200 from him.

“Based on this, sections 386 (extortion), 355 (assault or criminal force) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and provisions of the Information Technology Act were added to the FIR,” Kumar said.

Police added that three mobile phones, two motorcycles and Rs 2,200 in cash have been recovered from the arrested accused.

The incident snowballed into a political slugfest, with opposition parties slamming the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh.

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav said the incident is no less shameful than the one reported from Sidhi district in Madhya Pradesh, while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh claimed that under the BJP’s rule, Dalits are not even considered as human beings.

State Congress spokesperson Vikas Srivastava described the incident as a “despicable act”, while Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) spokesperson Ankur Saxena accused the BJP of insulting Dalits.

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