Dalit man stripped, assaulted in Karnataka village for ‘touching’ bike of upper caste owner

South India

In yet another incident of harassment against Dalits, a  32-year-old Dalit man was allegedly stripped and assaulted by a group of 13 youth in Karnataka's Vijayapura for reportedly touching a motorbike of an upper caste owner

Vijayapura district Superintendent of Police Anupam Agarwal told media on Monday, July 20, that they have registered cases against 13 persons under the SC/ST Act, based on a complaint lodged by the victim, Kashinath Talwar, a resident of Minaigi village near Talikoti.

"Though Talwar claimed that he touched the bike by mistake and pleaded for mercy, he said the accused severely thrashed him with sticks and footwear and took off his pants while he lay on the road haplessly," Agarwal was quoted by Times of India as saying.

Victim Kashinath Talwar father Yankappa also alleged that he, his wife and their daughter were also attacked by the accused when they tried to rescue him from being brutally assaulted.

A video clip of the assault went viral on the social media and triggered outrage in the district against the upper caste accused, as the intervention by the victim's parents did not stop them from carrying the assault. Vijayapura is 524km northwest of Bengaluru.

The video came at a time when physical distancing norms are in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the attackers were not wearing masks and violating the lockdown guidelines. Karnataka is the fourth worst-hit state in the country by the pandemic. As of Monday, the state’s total caseload is 63,772, including more than 1,300 deaths.

Meanwhile, in a related development, two-three women in the village also filed a complaint with the police against Talwar for allegedly eve-teasing and 'flashing' before them.

"We have summoned Talwar to inquire about his conduct as the women alleged that he teased them, touched them inappropriately and exposed his private parts while they were washing clothes outside their houses," Agarwal said.

Image Credit: The Quint

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