On the morning of September 25, two Dalit children, a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, were beaten to death for defecating outside a farmland. When News18 visited Madhya Pradesh's Bhavkhedi village, where this incident took place, we found not just a family mourning the death of its children but grieving over a systematic, oppressive assertion of caste that had left them brutalised and helpless.
News18 found that the deceased girl was forced to clean toilets in her school; that she was too scared to step out of her house for the fear of being molested by the same men who killed her later. We found the story of the deceased boy who saw his family suffer humiliation on a daily basis and who probably died trying to save the 12-year-old girl from the sexual predators that fateful morning.
After speaking to the family of the victims, class fellows, school teachers, panchayat members, community leaders, policemen and villagers, News18 has put together this account of the last 24 hours of the children who were brutally murdered.
Jyoti* (12) and Vivek* (10) wake up at 5:30 am. As part of their daily routine, they go out to defecate outside the farmland of Rameshwar and Hakam Yadav. They go there because there is no source of water or toilet in their home. The closest source of water with which they can wash themselves is a borewell installed outside the farmland of the Yadavs. Little do they know that 24 hours later, they will be killed at the same spot.
Vivek’s mother has already relieved herself before dawn. While the children are out, she is boiling milk for Vivek’s younger siblings. Bablu*, who is Vivek’s father and Jyoti’s brother, is out to get neem twigs which they’ll all use to brush their teeth with.
For the past three years, their father wrote several letters to the village head, the Sarpanch, to get financial assistance to construct a toilet. The Swachh Bharat Mission provides Rs 12,000 to the rural poor for construction of toilets. “Everybody received assistance from the Gram Panchayat. The Sarpanch keeps denying my pleas because I am a Valmiki,” said Bablu.