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Bengaluru: Dalit Employee Kills Himself After Facing Caste Discrimination At Workplace

Image Source: The Swaddle

A 35-year-old Dalit man from Uttar Pradesh is said to have killed himself on June 3 in Bengaluru just hours after reporting caste discrimination at work to Bengaluru police, according to a report from The Indian Express that was published on Thursday.


Vivek Raj
Image Source: The Indian Express

Vivek Raj, a native of the Uttar Pradesh region of Basti, reportedly said he was “unable to fight it anymore” in a video he uploaded to YouTube before taking his own life, according to The Indian Express. Raj, a National Institute of Fashion Technology graduate, worked as a visual merchandiser at Lifestyle International Private Limited in Bengaluru. Raj said in the video that his coworkers were harassing him.

Raj accused two of his senior coworkers of mistreating him because of his caste in a first information report filed hours before his death. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was used to file the FIR. Malathi, Raj’s reporting manager, and employees Nithesh Kumar and Kumar Suraj have all been accused of aiding suicide in a separate case brought by Raj’s father, according to The News Minute.

Also Read: In A First, Apple To Ban Caste Discrimination, Trains Managers On Indian Caste System

In the FIR submitted in response to this allegation, it was claimed that Raj had endured mental harassment for months and had been the target of casteist slurs at work. According to the FIR, the corporation did nothing while Raj approached his superiors.

The Indian Express was informed by an anonymous police “source” that even the police did not register the officer’s complaint until the assistant commissioner got involved. The anonymous source added that Raj was forced to quit before June 18 after Raj’s office learned he had contacted Bengaluru police.


Image Source: Times Higher Education

However, Lifestyle International, Bengaluru, claimed to have taken action in the case. “Vivek had raised a complaint through our internal process, and a thorough internal investigation was conducted in accordance with company policies, outcomes were shared with him, and the appropriate actions were taken,” the company told The Indian Express. “As this matter is sub-judice and being investigated by the police, we are fully cooperating with their investigation.”

In the video Raj posted before his death, he said he was proud of “fighting the system” within the private sector. “Coming from a particular background, studying hard, working hard, you change, you evolve and get better as a human being,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “You try to be kind to others. However, the world is not kind to you. People with money, people with power will harass you, keep harassing you, not addressing the issue…They are ready to throw money, as much as possible, to hide the harassment but not correct or define the system.


Image Source: Time

He also referred to Narendra Modi, saying that he knew the prime minister would not speak up on the matter. “I request you, to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, SC/ST Commission, police to be more vigilant, to cooperate, to come up with a better grievance resolution system,” Raj said. “If my sacrifice brings it, let it be, so be it.”

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