Netizens Furious After Dalit Worker's Hand Cut Off in India's Madhya Pradesh Over Unpaid Dues

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According to the National Crime Records Bureau, crimes against scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) in India spiked in 2020. Data shows that 50,291 cases were registered for crimes committed against SCs, an increase of 9.4 percent over 2019 while 8,272 cases were recorded for crime against STs, a rise of 9.3 percent over 2019.
After a Dalit construction worker's hand was chopped off in India's Madhya Pradesh state following a quarrel over money, scores of people have taken to social media to express their anger and anguish.
According to the local police, the incident happened in the village of Dolmou in MP's Rewa District on Saturday.
The victim has been identified as 45-year-old construction worker Ashok Saket, while the accused has been identified as Ganesh Mishra.
Informing the local media about the incident, the victim's brother Shivakumar Saket said that Mishra and his brother had an argument over the payment for the work completed at the former's house.
Mishra apparently owed around INR 15,000 ($201) to Saket but only paid INR 6,000 ($80).
“My brother reached Mishra's house to collect the pending payment. Ashok was asked by Mishra to wait but the latter returned with a sword and swung it at my brother’s neck," Shivakumar said. "My brother raised his left hand to protect himself, and the sword chopped it off.”
After the incident, Saket's family members took him to the police station to file a complaint; the police have arrested Mishra and charged him with attempted murder.
The victim, meanwhile, is in hospital and his hand has been reattached to his arm but the extent of the injury is not yet clear.
Since the news has gone viral, many social media users have reacted angrily and expressed their support for members of the Dalit community.
One netizen demanded immediate action by the state government.
He tweeted in Hindi: “Chopping off the hand of a Dalit labourer for demanding wages is disgusting and barbaric. He is a Dalit and a labourer. The state government should immediately take strict action and people of the country should ask State Chief Shivraj Singh Chouhan why a Dalit labourer's hand was hacked off.”
Another Twitter user said: “People stoop down so low that not even animals show such brutality. Such people will be taught a lesson when the time comes.”
One social media user wrote: “Dalits are being ill-treated even after so many years of independence. If you are born in a Dalit family, it is a good reason for your murder? We will take revenge for each and every atrocity.”
Questioning MP state chief, a netizen asked: “The barbaric crime committed by a person belonging to Upper Caste against a Dalit labourer in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh is extremely shameful. His hand was hacked off with a sword when he demanded pending wages. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan what kind of State are you developing where there is no assurance of safety for Dalits?"
Urging everyone to raise their voice for justice, another user wrote: “Ganesh Mishra chopped off the hand of a Dalit man for demanding wages. Mishra abused him and asked him to leave, saying there were no dues. It is difficult for labourers to survive.”
One person tweeted that Mishra should be hanged and his property handed over as compensation to the victim and his family.
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