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BJP supporter from Karnataka accused for torturing 16 Dalits, pregnant woman loses baby after ‘Assault

Jagadish Gowda, a staunch BJP supporter in Chikkamagaluru district, has been accused of keeping 16 Dalit people locked in his coffee plantation for several days. Victims say they were tortured. Police said that one of them, a pregnant woman, lost her child after assaulting him.

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka: Jagadish Gowda, a staunch BJP supporter in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district, has been accused of keeping 16 Dalits locked in his coffee plantation for several days. Victims say they were tortured. Police said that one of them, a pregnant woman, lost her child after assaulting him. Police have registered a case and the woman is undergoing treatment at the district hospital.

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Police said a case has been registered under the law against atrocities on Dalits named Jagadish Gowda and his son Tilak Gowda. Police said that both are absconding and search is on.

BJP has distanced itself from this person. The party’s district spokesperson rubbished the claims that he was the party leader. Varsiddhi Venugopal said, “Jagdish is neither a party worker nor a member. He is just a BJP supporter. He is like any other voter.”

The victims were working as daily wage laborers in a coffee plantation in Jenugadde village. Police said that they had borrowed an amount of Rs 9 lakh from the owner. They were closed for non-payment of loans.

A senior police officer said, “On October 8, some people came to the Balahonnur police station and alleged that Jagadish Gowda was torturing his relatives. But later that day he withdrew the complaint.”

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The next day the pregnant woman was admitted to the district hospital and a fresh complaint was lodged with the police chief in Chikkamagaluru, the official said. “We have registered an FIR after the SP referred the matter to us,” he said.

The officer probing the matter confirmed that when he went to the spot, he saw that at least 8-10 people were kept locked in a room. The police released them after questioning the owner.

“They were kept under house arrest for the last 15 days. There are four families in which 16 members are included and all are from Scheduled Castes. According to the complainant, all 16 were kept under house arrest,” the officer said.

Arpita said, “I was placed under house arrest for a day. I was beaten up and abused. He confiscated my phone.” Her mother told that Jagdish Gowda had thrashed her daughter and her husband. He said, “She was two months pregnant. Because of this she has lost her baby.”

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