An Indian girl from the Dalit community— the lowest caste in the Indian caste system— was allegedly denied drinking water at a temple in Gunnaur village of Sambhal, a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Sudha, 13, was not allowed to have water from the temple's hand pump as it was reserved for upper caste people only.
According to a report by news agency ANI, the girl was allegedly thrashed by the temple's priest when she went to the temple to have some water. She was working in the fields near the temple with her father.
"When I went to drink water, the priest called me 'chamar' (a lower caste in India) and said how I dared to drink water. He also called me names. He slapped me. Then I went to my father. When my father went to confront him, he thrashed my father with a stick," ANI quoted Sudha as saying.
Charan Singh, the girl's father, claimed that he was also attacked by the priest when he confronted him. "The pujari (priest) of the temple did not allow my daughter to drink water from the hand-pump. He said she cannot drink water because she is a Dalit. Then she returned back," he said.
"She went again and then the priest came to me saying that I have again sent my daughter to fetch water. He thrashed me with a trident. Another person named Nathu started beating me with a stick," Singh added.
A case has been registered under various sections of the SC/ST Act against the accused.
This comes after, two Dalit brothers, in an another incident, were allegedly stripped and thrashed for skinning a dead cow in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Monday. They are in hospital now.
Reports of violence against Dalit people have increased in India in the past few months. Widespread protests and debates are gaining momentum in the country. Recently, Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, has also broke his silence over the issue and said, ""If you have a problem, if you feel like attacking someone, attack me, not my Dalit brothers. If you want to shoot anyone, shoot me, not my Dalit brothers."