Indian Hindu priest
Indian Hindu priestReuters

Tension prevailed in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district after a temple's priest denied drinking water to a 13-year-old Dalit girl on Wednesday. Her father was also thrashed when he confronted the priest.

On a complaint by the girl's family, police have registered an FIR under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Senior police officers confirmed that two persons have been arrested in the case.

The priest reportedly attacked the girl's father with a trident.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati dubbed the incident as "unfortunate." She said the government must take action against those who humiliated the dalit family.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not addressing the Dalit issue in Parliament.

"We did not hear the PM's statement on Dalit issues here in the Parliament. We got to hear about his views from Telangana," Azad said in Rajya Sabha. "We have been repetitively demanding that the PM should come and make statements on such issues (Kashmir and Dalit issues) in Parliament," Azad said.

"If you have a problem, if you feel like attacking someone, attack me, not my Dalit brothers. If you want to shoot anyone, shoot me, not my Dalit brothers," Modi had said. "Fake Gau Rakshaks" are "dividing the nation and should be isolated," he added. 

Several other ministers also condemned atrocities against Dalits brought to the forefront in recent months.

If dalits are harmed by gaurakshaks, let me tell warn you we are also gaurakshaks, you will know," said Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary.  

Earlier in the week, two Dalit brothers in Andhra Pradesh were stripped and thrashed for skinning a dead cow. Last week, 12 policemen were also suspended in Uttar Pradesh after a Dalit man died in custody in Kanpur.

With Assembly elections in the offing in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, atrocities against Dalits have been raised and discussed in Parliament this monsoon session.

The outrage had peaked after a Dalit family members were beaten in Gujarat's Una city. They were beaten by cow protection vigilantes when the family tried to skin a dead cow. Dalits in Gujarat have retaliated by refusing to clear carcasses. Massive protests have rocked Gujarat since the incident and it has become a key issue in politics.