The man has been identified as Zafar Khan. Photograph: (AFP)
A group of municipal council officials have been accused of allegedly beating a man to death in Rajasthan's Pratapgarh town -- because he objected to them taking photographs of women defecating in the open.
In parts of the country, government officials have reportedly taken to photographing people defecating in the open in an attempt to shame them into not doing so.
The man who was allegedly beaten has been identified as Zafar Khan.
Newspaper reports said the commissioner of the municipal council was among the men who beat Khan.
“We have lodged an FIR under IPC section 302 (murder) against Nagar Parishad Commissioner Ashok Jain and municipal employees Kamal Harijan, Ritesh Harijan and Manish Harijan following a complaint by the family of Zafar Hussain, 44, who died on Friday morning after an alleged assault by these government employees,” the Indian Express reported Pratapgarh Station House Officer Mangi Lal Bishnoi as saying.
The Express added that Jain had denied the charges.
The Express quoted the complaint as saying, “Some women… were defecating in open today at around 6-6:30 am near our Kuttchi Basti Mehtab Shah colony, when the Nagar Parishad commissioner’s car reached the spot, along with Kamal, Ritesh and Manish and others. The men started taking photographs of the women.”
The complaint added, “My brother Zafar… asked them not to click photographs but the men started assaulting him with lathis, and punched and kicked him. He fell and died on the spot. All the people present at the spot, including the women, can identify the men who killed my brother.”
The Hindustan Times reported Jain as saying, “We went to the slum to spread awareness about the adverse effects of open defecation. This man, Zafar Khan, arrived there and started abusing us and later also assaulted one of our sanitation staff. Following that, he left the place and returned to his home. At that time he was perfectly healthy.”
And, “We met the people and heard their grievances before writing their feedback. When we left we assured them that toilets will be built. We went to the police station later to lodge a case against Khan for assaulting our team but learnt that he has died.”
The Hindustan Times report added that Khan denied he or his team had tried to shame people into not defecating in the open.
The Express added that based on Jain’s complaint, an FIR was lodged against Khan at the Pratapgarh station under IPC sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty).