Indra Kumar Meghwal’s family had alleged that the boy had been beaten up by his upper-caste teacher, Chail Singh, at a private school for drinking water from a matki (water pot) designated for Singh.
In its latest edition, published on September 1, Pathey Kan – a fortnightly RSS-affiliated magazine – has done a cover story over the death of Indra.
“Samajik Samrasta todne ka vam shadyantra (A Leftist conspiracy to damage social harmony),” reads the cover page of the Jaipur-based magazine.
In its cover story of the same name, authored by Ramswaroop Agrawal, the editor of Pathey Kan, a blurb says, “Samaj se vilupt ho gayi chuachoot ko phir se jeevit karne ke liye, ‘samaj todak gang’ dwara kiya gaya matki ka avishkar? (Did the ‘society-breaking gang’ invent the water pot to bring back to life untouchability, that has already been eradicated from the society)?”
The cover story mentions various media reports where villagers, the boy’s classmates and staff of the school say they never faced caste discrimination. It says that while the teacher was wrong to slap the child, it was necessary to ask how Indra died of just one slap. The story also says that the boy’s neighbours said he had ‘an ear ailment’ since before.
‘In this middle school, there are 6 teachers, out of which 5 teachers are from the Dalit community (two Meghwal, two bheel and one Jeengar). In such a scenario, is Dalit atrocity possible here?’ says the article published in Pathey Kan.
Following the incident, the local police said that out of the total eight staff members in the school, three teachers are Scheduled Caste, two from Scheduled Tribes, one from the OBC category, and two others including Singh are Rajputs.
Speaking with The Indian Express, the family of the boy had alleged that Dalit teachers in the school were siding with the accused under pressure.
In the editorial of the magazine, also authored by Agrawal, it has been said that the ‘samaj todo gang’ will encourage disparity, will try to create caste clashes and after portraying themselves as ‘Dalit rehnuma (sympathisers)’, abuse the entire society.
‘The two persons with whom the ownership of the school remains, one of them is a Jeengar, who come from the Scheduled Caste. Now when half the school is owned by a Dalit, how can discrimination and untouchability with Dalits be possible in such a place?” says the cover story.
An SIT formed by the Rajasthan government is currently conducting an investigation into the death of the boy. Rajasthan SC Commission chairman and Congress MLA Khiladi Lal Bairwa had earlier seconded the family’s claims.
The article also slams people it describes as ‘left liberal gang’ who suggested that the Saraswati Vidya Mandir, the school in Jalore where the incident took place, was run by the RSS. It cites the example of Congress leader Udit Raj, who tweeted saying that the school was run by the RSS but later apologised in another tweet.
Among other people, the cover story mentions the statement of BJP MLA from Jalore Jogeshwar Garg, who had said that since more than half the teachers at the school are from SC/ST communities, there can’t be any separate arrangement for drinking water.
“We have mentioned in the cover story how the classmates of the boy, the school staff and villagers have negated the theory that caste discrimination was responsible for his death. Those who highlighted the issue were leftists who call themselves Dalit leaders and tried to defame the RSS,” Pathey Kan editor Agrawal, a former government college principal, told The Indian Express.