Dalit Man Allegedly Forced to Lick Cops’ Shoes in Ahmedabad

A Dalit man was allegedly asked to lick the shoes of a policeman in Ahmedabad’s Amraiwadi, following which an FIR was lodged against a constable under SC and ST (prevention of atrocities) act, The Indian Express reported. The Dalit man's complaint also stated that he was beaten up before being asked to lick the shoes. Following the complaint, the crime branch has been asked to look into the matter.

An FIR was lodged after members of the Dalit community held protests outside the police station on Monday. 

The man has been identified as 38-year-old Harshad Jadav. He was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer. He said that the FIR did not name the DCP Himkar Singh who has also asked him to lick the shoes and instead it was just the constable who was named in the report.

The constable, identified as Vinodbhai Babubhai, attacked him with a baton without any provocation, leaving him with a fractured finger, and also abused his family members, an official at the Amraiwadi police station said on Wednesday.

Citing the FIR filed by Jadav, the official said he was taken to the police station on the same night and was locked-up for assaulting a public servant while discharging his duty.

A few police officials then asked Jadav about his caste and when he told them he was a Dalit they asked him to touch Babubhai's feet and apologise, the official said quoting from the FIR.

Jadav, who repairs televisions for a living, did what he was told to do.

“On 29 December, I had gone outside my house after hearing noise. There were many policemen and a crowd had gathered. I saw a man standing near me and asked about the matter. He suddenly slapped me. I also pushed him. He then took a stick and started beating me up, saying that he is a policeman. My wife, who came to help me, was also beaten,” he told The Indian Express.

"I was then taken to Amraiwadi police station and kept in the lock-up for a few hours. Sometime in the afternoon DCP Himkar Singh arrived and called me. He said how dare I hit a policeman, and then asked my ‘jaat’ (caste). A police officer from behind said that I was a Dalit, and that made the DCP angry. He asked me to fall at the feet of the constable whom I had pushed, and apologise. I did that. After that he asked me to lick the constable’s shoes and apologise." - Harshad Jadav, talking to The Indian Express.

Ashok Samrat, convenor of the Gujarat Dalit Sangathan also spoke to The Indian Express.

"Police have not named the DCP in the FIR, and wrote only the name of the constable. We met Ahmedabad Police Commissioner A K Singh and asked him to look into the matter." - Ashok Samrat, Convenor, Gujarat Dalit Sangathan

The DCP, Himkar Singh, however rubbished the allegations saying that Jadav was arrested on 29 December but he was not aware as to what happened between 30 December and 1 January.

The Police Commissioner, however, responded to the matter saying, "Certain allegations have been made and we have taken cognizance of it. The matter is under investigation. To be fair to all, the case will be investigated by the Crime Branch so that there is no chance of any bias.", The Indian Express reported.

(With inputs from PTI)

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