A 23-year-old Dalit officer has committed suicide in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district, alleging humiliation and mental harassment by a village head, a leader of a farmers’ outfit and others, police said on Friday.
Trivendra Kumar Gautam, who had started his service as a
village development officer (VDO) last year and posted at Kumbhi block, hanged
himself to death at his home on Wednesday night. His body was recovered on
Thursday from the rented accommodation at Shivsagar locality of Lakhimpur town,
130 km north of Lucknow, police
In a handwritten suicide note addressed to his father, Gautam blamed the district president of a farmers’ outfit, the head of Rasoolpur village and the son of another village head behind the decision to end his life.
A video has gone viral on the social media, purportedly showing the young officer being humiliated at a public meeting. A man could be heard in the noisy video questioning Gautam’s professionalism and called him a ‘kaamchor’ (shirker), adding that such officers should be thrashed with shoes and kicked out.
In the note recovered from his room, Gautam alleged that they were humiliating and mentally harassing him. The officer also stated that he was subjected to abuses and targeted over reservation, which, he said, is wrong. Gautam also stated that he is troubled and feels that he is a failure. He called for punishing the farmers’ party president and the village head after his death.
Five people, including the three from the farmers’ outfit, have been arrested, Additional Superintendent of Police Shailendra Lal said.
An FIR had been lodged under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and the Information Technology Act, the ASP said.
“Investigations are on and no one found involved will be spared,” Lal said.
Meanwhile agitated over their colleague’s suicide, dozens of village development officers held a demonstration at the Vikas Bhawan on Thursday.
The protestors, under the aegis of the Gram Panchayat Adhikari Sangh, threatened to boycott work if the guilty were not held within three days. The officers also handed a memorandum to the district magistrate.