A Dalit couple who were being removed from a plot of government land allotted for a college in Guna city of Madhya Pradesh consumed pesticide in protest, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Their condition was now stable, he said, adding that the police were compelled to use force against them as they resisted the eviction. A video that went viral on social media showed the police beating the man with batons severely. The incident took place on Tuesday.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has directed immediate removal of Collector and SP of Guna and ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident.
Opposition Congress slammed the use of force and demanded action against those responsible for the incident.
"The (farm) land was reserved for a government model college. Rajkumar Ahirwar (38) and his wife Savitri (35) were working on the land. Gabbu Pardi, who had encroached on the land, had given them work," said district collector S Vishwanathan. When officials asked them to vacate the field, they protested and drank pesticide at the behest of those who had encroached on the land, he claimed.
The two also refused to go to hospital so the police had to use force to take them to hospital, the collector claimed. "Their condition is now stable," Vishwanathan added.
A purported video of the incident on social media showed the police hitting the man mercilessly with batons and his wife and others trying to save him.
"A Dalit couple was mercilessly beaten up by the cops. what kind of jungle raj is this?" tweeted former chief minister Kamal Nath.
"If it was related to government land, it (the issue) can be legally resolved...but beating him, his wife and a kid is not justified....stern action should be taken against those responsible for it," the Congress leader said.
(With inputs from agencies)