In a horrific development reported from Karnataka, coffee estate owners allegedly kept 16 people locked up with one woman losing her baby after repeated torture. According to reports, the atrocities were done against over a dozen persons who belonged to the Dalit community. The incident was reported from Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district and occurred in Jenugadde village near Balehonnur.

Following the incident, the police registered a case against coffee plantation owner Jagdish Gowda and his son Tilak under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Atrocities against SC-ST Act.

Reportedly, the owners of the coffee plantation had kept members of four families belonging to Scheduled Castes locked inside their rooms and for over two weeks tortured them. As per an Indian Express report, the families had been working at the plantation as daily wagers.

Some members of the family had gotten together and had taken a loan of Rs 8 lakhs from the plantation owner Jagdish Gowda. As there was a delay in the repayment of the loan, the plantation owner locked the families inside the room and tortured them.

An NDTV report quoted an officer involved in the investigation of case saying, “There are four families which includes 16 members and all are from Scheduled Castes. According to the complainant, all 16 were kept under house arrest.”

The Facts of the Matter

Between April 2020 to March 2021, Karnataka registered as many as 2,327 cases of various crimes against members of SC/ST community, including murders and exploitation cases. This was a sharp 54% spike from the year where 1,504 such cases were reported.

The numbers are in line with the national increase in atrocities against SC/ST where crimes against both communities increased by 1.2 and 6.4% in 2021, with Uttar Pradesh leading the list.

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16 Dalit Persons held Captive & Tortured

Meanwhile, Karnataka reported another harrowing incident of crime against Dalits, where at least 16 persons were held captive and tortured.

At a village in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district, coffee estate owners have been accused of keeping 16 persons from the Dalit community locked up in their houses for at least two weeks. While most victims allege of being tortured, one of the pregnant victims, lost her baby after the accused assaulted her.

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Accused on the Run

The accused have been identified as Jagdeesh Gowda, the owner of the plantation, and Tilak Gowda, his son. Both have them have been registered under laws against Dalits atrocities and have been since on run.

As per reports, all of the victims belong from different Scheduled Castes and worked as daily wagers at the plantation in Jenugaddevillage.

Some of the victims allegedly took a loan amounting to Rs 8 lakhs from the accused. However, when they were unable to pay back the loan, the accused locked them up.

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How the Atrocity Came to Fore

The matter came to the fore after a few people approached the Balehonnur police and alleged that some relatives of theirs were locked and tortured by Jagdeesh Gowda. However, the same day, the complaint was withdrawn.

While the complaint was withdrawn, a new light was shed on the matter when a pregnant woman was rushed to a district hospital and another complaint was filed in the matter. An FIR was registered and as per SP’s directions, a team was formed to probe the matter.

The police visited the spot and saw at least 8-10 persons from the SC community locked in the room. After the officer interrogated the owner, the locked persons were released.


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