Patna: Their caste kinsman may be the Bihar chief minister but that brings no solace to hundreds of Mahadalits who fled their village in Gaya district and taken shelter in a government office after threats from upper caste men for protesting the killing of one of them.
Tekari police station officer incharge Pradip Kumar told IANS over telephone that more than 250 Mahadalits, mostly of the Manjhi caste that Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi belongs to, fled Pura village after they were allegedly threatened by upper cast residents and were camping in the block office in Tekari.
The provocation was their protests over killing of a Mahadalit who filed his nomination for the election for president of the primary agriculture cooperative society, police said.
Pradip Kumar said that security forces have been deployed in the village after police was informed about the incident.
“But Mahadalits are reluctant to return to their village as they fear that powerful upper caste people would attack and kill them,” he said.
According to district police officials, Arjun Manjhi of the village was killed after he filed nomination papers for the election and refused to withdraw despite pressure.
Manjhi’s killing angered his castemen, who demanded action against the accused.
“After they protested, some powerful people threatened them to eliminate them like Manjhi. Fearing attacks on them, they were forced to flee the village,” said another police official.
Kumar said Mahadalits have made it clear that they would return to the village only after police arrest seven named as accused in the complaint filed by Arjun Manjhi’s family. They have also threatened to stage protests in Gaya town if the accused were not arrested soon.