Mahesh Trivedi | Clarion India
AHMEDABAD — Tension mounted in rural Gujarat on Saturday after a 27-year-old Scheduled Caste youth was beaten to death allegedly by six upper-caste men in a village in Dhanera taluka of north-eastern Banaskantha district late on Thursday night.
The naked body of Pintu Galchar, a Dalit daily wager, was found on Friday morning on the outskirts of Ravi village with several blunt injuries on his body.
The police said Hansraj Purohit, husband of the sarpanch (village head), and five others named by Pintu’s younger brother Sanjay had been arrested and are being interrogated in the presence of senior officials and activists who have descended on the sleepy village dominated by Brahmins.
Initial police investigations revealed that the six men suspected that Pintu, a bachelor, had stolen Rs 5,000 from Hansraj’s shop last week. On Thursday night, they abducted him from his home and mercilessly thrashed him to extract a confession but the beating proved fatal. So, the police believe, they stripped him and dumped him on a roadside late on Thursday night.
According to Sanjay’s complaint, the six upper-caste men arrived at their home in a large four-wheeler at 10.30 pm on Thursday and forcibly took away his elder brother in their vehicle. The FIR states that Pintu never came back home and his phone remained switched off till his body was spotted near a deserted bus stand on the outskirts of the village on Friday morning.
District Superintendent of Police Tarun Duggal told journalists that blunt injuries on Pintu’s body proved that Hansraj and his accomplices had beaten Pintu black and blue, and after finding that he was dead, they dumped him at the spot where the dead body was found on Friday morning.
All six accused have been booked under Indian penal code sections 302 for murder, 364 for abduction, 294 for obscenity and 143 for unlawful assembly along with sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Dalit lawmaker Jignesh Mevani told Clarion India that this gory incident should not be seen as an isolated case as Ahmedabad, Kutch and Banaskantha districts contribute a major chunk of atrocities. The Atrocities Act stresses preventive measures by police and administration but there is no sense of urgency. Despite the fact that the Banaskantha records the highest number of atrocities, Gujarat’s second largest, 14-tehsil district has only one senior police officer of the level of deputy superintendent of police.
“In Gujarat, no prompt action is taken till Dalit leaders and Dalit legislators like me raise a hue and cry. There is no special court for trying cases of atrocities. The latest incident has once again proved the state government’s apathy and callousness towards Dalits”, summed up the outspoken MLA.
According to National Crime Records Bureau, in crimes against Dalits, ranging from rape, murder, violence and land-related issues, Uttar Pradesh remains among one of the top states, followed by Gujarat.
As per the data, Uttar Pradesh has witnessed substantial increase of 47% from 2014 to 2018 in the crimes committed against Dalits followed by 26% in Gujarat, 15% in Haryana, 14% in Madhya Pradesh and 11% in Maharashtra. Ironically, these states were ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party in these years.