New Delhi, June 17: Two minor Dalit boys were stripped naked, beaten up and paraded in a village in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon for swimming in a village well on June 14. Since then, life seems to have changed for the two — aged 16 and 17 — belonging from Wakdi village in Jalgaon district especially after the video of the duo being abused went viral on social media.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, grandmother of one of the boys said, “On two nights since then, he has woken up suddenly, terrified.” The victim didn’t speak about the incident for two days until someone from his sister’s in-laws’ side brought it to his parents’ notice. It was then that his parents approached the police.
Speaking of the fateful day, one of the victims told The Sunday Express that the two had swum in the well before as well but it was this time that the accused caught them and abused them for swimming in the well. They were picked from a group of 15 boys.
“By the time they came near the well, we had emerged out of the water and had put on our clothes. They picked three of us from the group and started abusing us,” one of the victims said. Both the boys denied the reports of being paraded naked in the village.
“Lohar started whipping the two of us with a belt he had. We saw Joshi had started video-recording this; we picked up some branches with leaves to cover our private parts. One more person then gave Lohar a wooden stick —- he (Lohar) beat us with that…. Then they let us go,” he added.
On Wednesday, June 13, two prime accused in the case, 30-year-old Ishwar Balwant Joshi and 22-year-old Palhad Lohar, were arrested for molesting and beating up the two minors. On Saturday, June 16, two more people were arrested for their connection in the case.
Several political leaders from the opposition Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, including ex-minister Eknath Khadse, condemned the incident and demanded that the culprits be booked under the SC/ST Act.