Children hugging their father Credit: Twitter

New Delhi: After a Dalit couple in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district drank pesticide in an attempt to commit suicide, both the SP and the district collector were removed from their posts on Wednesday. The incident happened on Tuesday in front of their kids, locals, and police officials.

The disturbing visuals are now being shared on all social media platforms. The couple — 38-year-old Ram Kumar Ahirwar and his wife 35-year-old Savitri Devi — are now in government-run hospitals and recuperating.

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The couple tried to take the drastic step as they saw police officials destroying their crops in a bid to evict them from a piece of “government-owned land.” The Guna administration had ordered the setting up of a Model College on that land where Ahirwar had been practicing cultivation. Going by the reports of various local media channels the state government failed in their previous attempts to vacate the land.

A team from the state revenue department who was accompanied by cops visited the land on Tuesday to evict the couple. They were preparing to construct a boundary wall. When the couple attempted to resist, they were faced with the devastation of crops and hence drank the pesticide to kill themselves. The cops then allegedly responded by brutally hitting the couple with sticks. This can be seen in the videos as the couple tries to shield each other from the blows.

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Devi said that they had no idea whose land it was but that they have been farming on it for a long time and that the couple is in a debt of three lakh rupees. According to Guna district administration, the land has been grabbed by a local gangster. They used the debt-burdened family as a front to stop the state government from reclaiming the land. Ahirwar allegedly had paid the gangster Rs 3 lakh for that piece of land.

FIRs are however registered against the Dalit couple and other locals present on the spot. Section 309 of the IPC (attempt to commit suicide) and Section 353 of the IPC (use of criminal force or assault to deter public servant from the discharge of his duty, etc) were among the other charges.

The couple tries to shield each other from the blows

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In an interview with The Quint, IG Gwalior Range Raja Babu Singh said, “The video has been clipped and is being shared as police wielding lathis on locals but the police were actually trying to shoo away the people who were resisting the cops from taking the unconscious farmer couple to the hospital.”

Even the district collector S Vishwanath said that after reviewing the entire footage he found no fault on their team as they had to rush and take the couple to the hospital. He also added that had it not been for the team the couple would have lost their lives and more cases could have taken place.

However, after receiving massive flak from social media and opposition leaders including former MP chief Minister Kamal Nath who took a dig at CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan alleging him of running a “jungle raj” in the state, both Guna SP and the collector were removed from their posts. This happened on Wednesday as they were the ones who ordered the eviction drive and defended the police action.

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Even Narottam Mishra, the Madhya Pradesh home minister, in a tweet said that a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the matt(er.

(With inputs from The Quint)

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