Three minor Dalit boys were allegedly stripped, beaten and paraded nude in a village in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district for allegedly swimming in a village well, officials said on Thursday.
The incident occurred on June 10, but came to light only after some videos of the boys’ being paraded in Vakadi village went viral, after which authorities swung into action.
Maharashtra social justice minister Dilip Kamble told media persons that two persons have been arrested and further investigations are underway.
Union social welfare minister Ramdas Athawale condemned the incident and demanded “stringent action against the perpetrators”.
Last Sunday, the three boys, aged around 12-14, reportedly jumped into the village well to beat the scorching heat.
However, as some locals learnt of it, a large number of people, including many allegedly from upper castes, gathered near the well and pulled them out.
They were shouted at and subjected to abuses before some persons allegedly forced the boys to strip and paraded them nude around the village.
The boys can be seen wearing only sandals and tree leaves, and the video showed at least one person whipping them on the legs and back with sticks and what appeared to be a leather belt.
Several Dalit and political leaders from the opposition Congress and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, including ex-minister Eknath Khadse, and Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani, have condemned the incident and demanded that the culprits be booked under the SC/ST Act.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and former state minister Laxman Dhoble, termed the incident unfortunate and said that such incidents are on the rise in recent times and the matter has also been discussed in Parliament. On Thursday evening, Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil promised action.