The Dalit boys were swimming in the well to beat the summer heat. Police said this upset villagers, who allegedly pulled them out, stripped and paraded them. They were allegedly beaten with leather belts, police added.

Mumbai: Two minor Dalit boys were allegedly beaten up and paraded around naked in a village in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district for swimming in a well that belonged to a person of a different caste, police said today.

The teenagers were paraded around by two men, one of whom owned the well.

Police have arrested the men in connection with the incident, identified as Ishwar Joshi and Prahlad Lohar.

The matter came to light when a video of the alleged assault and stripping of the boys went viral on social media on June 10.

The video allegedly shows the two boys, aged 15 and 16, being beaten up with a belt and paraded around naked in Pahur village in the Jamner Taluka region of Jalgaon by the accused duo, a local police official said.

The boys had gone for a swim in the well belonging to Joshi, a farmer, in Wakadi village around 3 pm on 10 June.

“While returning home after swimming, both the teenagers were caught by Joshi and his farm worker Prahlad Lohar,” he said.

Joshi and Lohar allegedly started abusing the duo, stripped them off their clothes and started beating them with a belt, the official said.

According to the official, the cries of the boys to spare them went unheard.

He said the boys were paraded around naked in the village while one of the accused used his mobile phone to film the incident and circulate it on social media.

The parents of the boys came to know of the incident after the video went viral, following which they approached the Pahur police.

On the complaint of the father of one of the victims, Joshi and Lohar were booked under section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC, said the officer.

Sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Keshav Pathond told PTI that Joshi and Lohar were also booked under the Atrocity Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and section 67 (B) of the Information and Technology Act.

They were arrested on the night of 10 June and presented before local court on 11 June, which sent them to judicial remand.

The Congress has alleged that atrocities against Dalits are on the rise under the Narendra Modi government.

Former chief minister and state unit Congress president Ashok Chavan claimed that such incidents are happening with an increasing frequency after the BJP came to power in Maharashtra.

“This reflects the anti-Dalit mentality of the BJP,” he said.

Maharashtra Congress in-charge Mohan Prakash said a party delegation will visit the village tomorrow.

“It has become a flagship programme of the Modi government ever since it was formed to unleash atrocities on Dalits. There are large-scale atrocities on Dalits and tribals in the BJP-ruled states such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Maharashtra, ” he said.

“On one hand the chief minister talks about negotiating with Dalits, but on the other, cases are being slapped against them and they are being arrested. Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should tell if this is the act of Maoists or Manuvadis,” Prakash said.

Nationalist Congress Party Maharashtra’s unit chief Jayant Patil alleged that Dalits and minorities were not safe under the BJP government.

“Such incidents, which are a blot on humanity, are happening frequently since the BJP assumed power,” he said.

Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said that two persons have been arrested in connection with the Jalgaon incident.

“I spoke to the collector and the superintendent of police,” he said.

Irrigation minister Girish Mahajan said that the two people have been booked under the provisions of the Atrocities Act and POCSO.

Mahajan and minister of state for social justice Dilip Kamble said that the boys used to bathe in the well whose water was meant for drinking water purpose.

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