Patan police have arrested two men for allegedly beating up a 17-year-old Dalit boy after tying him to a tree at Gorad village in Chanasma taluka of the district. However, among the two arrested is the brother of the accused state transport bus conductor who was named by the victim in the FIR. The other is the accused conductor’s cousin.
The incident reportedly took place on Monday when the boy, a resident of Mehsana, had reached a government school at a village in Chanasma taluka of Patan district to appear in the Class XII Board exam.
“I had reached the examination centre from my home in Mehsana by state transport bus around 1 pm. While waiting outside the exam centre, Ramesh Patel, who I know by face and is a state transport bus conductor, came to me. He asked me to come with him as he had some work. He took me to another person who was waiting with a motorcycle. They both rode me to a nearby farm at Gorad village,” the FIR quoted the victim as saying.
According to the Dalit teen, despite him insisting the two men to leave him as he would miss his exam, they told him not to worry and assured him that they would leave him at the centre before the examination starts.
“The men tied him to a tree and started hitting him with a stick. When he asked them the reason, they abused him and said that he should not study and take his exams, but instead do labour work,” his mother told The Indian Express.
According to the family, the boy returned home that day without appearing in the exam. He did not inform anyone till Wednesday when her mother saw injury marks on his back while he was taking a bath. After she enquired, he narrated her the entire episode.
He was then taken to Mehsana civil hospital and an FIR was registered under IPC sections 323 (voluntary causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) and 114.
The boy’s family hails from a village in Patan district’s Chanasma taluka. But they had shifted to Mehsana to work in a plywood factory. His mother is the sole breadwinner in the family after his father met with a road accident and is currently bedridden.
Denying rumours that his son was beaten up for having an affair with an upper caste girl, his mother said, “Such rumours are being spread to defame my son. So that, no one sympathises with him. It is not correct.”
Meanwhile, police have not arrested accused conductor Ramesh Patel’s brother Mahender, who is in his 30s, and cousin Harsh. “Police in its investigation found that Ramesh Patel was on duty that day and was not involved in the incident. Based on our investigation, we have arrested Mahender and his maternal uncle’s son Harsh, who is in his mid 20s,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (SC/ST cell in-charge of Patan) R P Zala.
The 17-year-old student, who is still admitted in the hospital, on Friday appeared for his Board exam at the same centre amid police protection. Police have also provided security to him at the hospital, where he returned after taking the exam, and at his residence in Mehsana.
“Two constables were deployed outside our house on Thursday night who returned in the morning. We have been told that they would return to out house on Friday night, too,” said the victim’s family.
The boy will take his last exam on Saturday.