A couple from Dalit community was murdered by a local grocer after a dispute over a debt in Uttar Pradesh state, India. The man was beheaded and his wife hacked to death after the couple was unable to pay his money.
The grocer was from the Brahmin’s family, India’s upper-class rank. The incident happened in Manipuri district early on Thursday as Police told the Press Trust of India news agency.
The couple had a debt of 15 rupees (22 cents) and told the grocer they needed more time to pay their sum. The couple were on their way to work when the dispute occurred. They were stopped by Ashok Mishra, the owner of a village grocery, who demanded the couple repay his 22 cents for three packets of biscuits they had bought a few days ago.
The couple told the grocer they would pay their money after they received their daily wages.
After some verbal dispute, Mishra allegedly attacked and slew the couple, identified as Bharat Singh, 65, and his wife Mamta, 60.
They had bought three packets of biscuits for their three children a few days ago. Mamta and Bharat had four children, three of them minors, according to local authorities.
According to the Indian Express Newspaper, a local villager said that Mishra was shouting for the money as the couple went on to work and then Mishra ran to his house and returned with an ax, hacking Bharat repeatedly and afterward attacked Mamta.
The ax blew a serious injury to Bharat’s neck, which killed him on the spot while his wife, Mamta, died after some serious injury from protecting her husband. Both of them died on the field.
Both Mishra and his wife Rajni have been arrested and taken into custody. It was not clear if the shopkeeper had some earlier feud against the couple.
The attacker has confessed his crime to the police while the role of shopkeeper’s wife, in this case, is not clear yet, according to Digambar Kushwaha, a local police official.
“We are also probing some eyewitnesses to find out why no one tried to stop the shopkeeper.”
Mishra told the police that the couple had verbally abused him.
People have gathered around the street protesting over the incident. They have blocked roads and came up with a demand for serious actions against such attackers.
Dalits form the lowest rung of India’s caste hierarchy and are subject to such gruesome attacks from upper-caste people every year. This is not the first time in which Dalit people have been mistreated.
Some low-caste Dalit men were assaulted brutally by cow protection vigilantes while trying to skin the dead animal earlier this month in western Gujarat state.
As the cow holds a special place in Hindu culture, slaughtering of the animal for any purpose is considered taboo and is strictly prohibited by laws in India.
These incidents have become common in most of the benighted community in India. A similar incident occurred some months ago when a Dalit man married a woman from a higher caste in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The man was murdered eventually.
The caste system was officially banned after India got independence from Britain in 1947, but many such incidents prevail even today.
Statistics reports have shown more than 160 million Dalits in India. It indicates nearly about 90 percent of people from all benighted community across India, and 95 percent of all the illiterate Indians are considered Dalits.
These people are vulnerable to many such incidents and subjected to public humiliation, discrimination, and social violence by the majority of the people from upper-caste.
According to National Geographic News, Smita Narula, a senior researcher with Human Rights watch and an author of Broken People: Caste Violence Against India’s “Untouchables,“ Dalits are not allowed to drink from the same wells, attend the same temples, wear shoes in the presence of an upper caste, or drink from the same cups in tea stalls.”
[Photo by Ajit Solanki/AP Images]