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Dalit autorickshaw driver blinded for demanding fare

By Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
July 21, 2005 20:17 IST
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A Dalit autorickshaw driver was blinded in a Bihar village for asking Rs 50 as fare.

Sanjay Paswan, in his early 30s, was blinded by a group of five men on Tuesday in the presence of a village headman of Balua panchayat in Maner near Patna.

Paswan's relatives said that after the incident, the local police refused to lodge a police complaint as the attackers enjoyed political patronage.

"When he asked for the fare, they abused and threatened him. Then, they beat him and dragged him to the village mukhiya (headman) where he was beaten up again. Finally they blinded him with an umbrella," Paswan's younger brother said.

Paswan's relatives took him to the Patna government hospital for treatment, but he was refused treatment there on the ground that it was a police case.

"The hospital authorities were hostile to us and referred him to another hospital, but he was not admitted even there," his wife Gudiya Devi said. Paswan was later admitted to a private nursing home.

"I fail to understand how I am alive after the kind of beating I received. The beating seriously injured my eyes. Why did they not kill me because without vision what I will do and how I will manage my family?" Paswan asked with choked voice while resting on his hospital bed. He is under treatment at Rajeshwar Nursing Home.

"Woh log humko bahut mara, road par ghaseeta ek janwar ki tarah, mera pura peeth, gardan aur sharir ghayal kar diya. Akhir mein chata ke nonk se dono aankh phod dala, aab shayad main kabhi nahin dekh paoonga," (They beat me a lot, dragged me through the street like some animal. They have injured by back, neck and body. In the end, with the point of an umbrella, they pierced my eyes. Perhaps, I won't be able to see again.) Paswan told

Dr Ajay, who is treating Paswan, said that the injuries to his eyes are serious. "It is difficult to say whether Paswan will be able to see again. His vision may not return," the doctor said.

Paswan's family members said that the police have not acted till date. "No first information report has been filed even after two days," said Devi.

Devi is worried about the future of her three children. "If my husband loses his vision, who will take care of us?" she asked.


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Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna