Civic officials in Rajasthan's Pratapargh town allegedly beat a 44-year-old man to death after he tried to stop them from scaring women defecating in the open and taking their photographs. The incident happened near Bagwasa Kachi Basti area at around 6:30 am where few women had gone to attend nature’s call and municipality employees of Pratapgarh town, engaged in the Swachh Bharat campaign, reportedly tried to take their photographs in order to deter them from defecating in the open.
It was then that Zafar Khan intervened and tried stopping municipality employees from taking pictures.
In retaliation, municipality employees kicked, punched and beat Khan with a stick, which led to his death, according to the FIR lodged by Khan’s elder brother Noor Mohammed.
Noor has lodged a complaint against Kamal Harijan, Ritesh Harijan, Manish Harijan, Nagar Parishad commissioner Ashok Jain and others following police have registered a case of murder, Pratapgarh Kotwali police said.
“Some women… were defecating in open today at around 6-6:30 am near our Kuttchi Basti Mehtab Shah colony, when the Nagar Parishad commissioner’s car reached the spot, along with Kamal, Ritesh and Manish and others. The men started taking photographs of the women,” according to the complaint.
“My brother Zafar… asked them not to click photographs but the men started assaulting him with lathis, and punched and kicked him. He fell and died on the spot. All the people present at the spot, including the women, can identify the men who killed my brother,” it said.
Pratapgarh Superintendent of Police, Shivraj Meena said, “We are getting the matter investigated and a case has been registered against four named accused in the FIR.”
SHO, Pratapgarh Kotwali, Mangilal Bishnoi said that the body has been kept at district hospital for postmortem. Police have been deployed considering the matter sensitive and to maintain law and order.
“We are investigating the case and no arrests have been made so far,” he said.
Jain has denied all the charges and alleged that it was Zafar who had attacked the officials.
“As part of the government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, we go around in the mornings to prevent people from defecating in the open and spread awareness. Today, we parked our car and were informing people about the ills of open defecation when a man rushed towards us, and started hitting and abusing our employees,” Jain was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
“He went home and we continued with our campaign. However, when we went to the station to lodge a complaint, we came to know of his death. We did not click any objectionable photographs nor did we assault him. He was fine when he left,” he said.
Based on Jain’s complaint, an FIR has also been lodged against Zafar under IPC sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty).