She had been arrested with her son on suspicion of theft in a village in the southern state. Father Zackarias, former secretary of the Bishops' Conference commission against caste: "Deaths in detention are becoming more and more frequent. And the Dalits are the first victims".
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A Dalit woman from the village of Komatlagudem, Telangana state, died while in the Addagudur police station. Her death, which occurred in the early hours of June 18, would have occurred as a result of injuries sustained in a beating.
Ms. Mariyamma was taken from her home by plainclothes officers along with her son Uday on June 16, following a theft report filed a few days before. The woman worked as a maid in a house in Addagudur. According to reports from her daughter Swapna, Ms. Mariyamma was reported to be taken back to the village the next day and beaten there by six plainclothes officers in front of her youngest daughter. The next night she did not survive the aftermath of the beatings.
Father Devasagayaraj M. Zackarias, former national secretary of the commission for disadvantaged castes of the Bishops' Conference of India, comments to AsiaNews: “The death in detention of the Dalit woman is a horrible and disgusting fact. It's nothing more than a police murder. Vulnerable people face discrimination from society and even those who, like law enforcement, should be neutral are on the side of the oppressors."
According to the cleric, the Central Bureau of Investigation must open an inquiry into this case. "Death in detention - continues Fr Zackarias - has become frequent and minorities and Dalits are the most affected. Last year it was Jayaraj and Bennix, another father and son who were beaten to death. Only later after many months the perpetrators were arrested. Since the poor and the marginalized are voiceless, the police become brutal to the point of killing. This is to be condemned and must stop immediately ".
Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcic), added to AsiaNews: “The police have violated the law that no woman can be arrested after dark. By now the Dalits are not only affected in their rights and dignity, but also in their own life. This country is in serious need of police reform. Caste-based violence reached new levels in some southern Indian states during the Covid-19 emergency. There has been a rapid escalation of crimes against Dalit communities which has added to the dehumanization ”.
Jesuit Father AXJ Bosco, activist for Dalits, tells AsiaNews: "This heinous crime against Mariyamma, a Dalit Christian woman, must be condemned in the strongest way. It is a great injustice for which we ask for justice and compensation for the family. ".