The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Heat treatment in caste cauldron for temple quest

Shivalapar (Danapur), Sept. 1: Sarita barely could make out that it was just her fate rewritten by Yadavs in Bihar.

For the six-month-old, still in her mother’s lap, it was also impossible to understand why two persons poured boiling dal (pulses) on her.

Had her brother not stepped into a Durga temple along with five of his friends — all from Manjhi caste — yesterday morning, neither Sarita nor her mother, Jayanti, would have faced the brutality of two Yadav brothers.

Jayanti, 24, protested the way the children had been beaten up by Ramavatar Yadav, a retired railway guard, and his three sons for daring to enter the temple even when there is a different temple for the Dalits. The result of the protest came soon.

Dinesh and Sanjay, sons of Ramavatar, stopped the motorcycle in front of Jayanti’s single-room Indira Awas Yojana house at Musahari Shibala village under Shahpur police station area in Danapur, 25km from Patna, around 5.30pm yesterday. Dinesh first reportedly abused the entire Manjhi caste women and then caught Jayanti by hair and bent her forward to pour the boiling dal on her back and Sarita’s head and shoulder.

Jayanti told The Telegraph: “I only told Ramavatar that our children had all rights to play at the common temple.” She added that though they had been at the receiving end of powerful Yadavs, she could not take it more seeing her son being beaten up and discriminated. Her husband, Baleshwar Manjhi, is in Varanasi, where he works as a construction worker.

Other Manjhi women, Kamla Devi and Usha Devi, alleged they were also beaten up by Dinesh and Umesh, Ramavatar’s another son. Usha, a vegetable-seller, said: “The two brothers threw all my vegetables on road in anger yesterday.”

Akhilesh Kumar, a villager, said: “Ramavatar has clout in the village, thanks to several bighas of land and three sons.”

Ramavatar and his sons are said to be close to Ritlal Yadav, a muscleman currently lodged in jail. Incidentally, Ritlal’s wife Asha Devi is BJP MLA from the area, Danapur.

A case under the SC/ST Act and IPC has been lodged against Ramavatar, Dinesh, Sanjay and Umesh.

Patna senior superintendent of police Kundan Krishnan said: “We have arrested Ramavatar and looking for his three absconding sons. A chowkidar has been deployed at the village temple.”

Ramavatar’s family memb- ers, all women, said: “We have nothing to say. There is no male member at home.”

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