November 8, 2021 3:39:32 pm
Police arrested three men from Dhathal village in Kheda district late on Sunday night for allegedly murdering a Dalit villager over a farm dispute.
The murder was committed on Sunday afternoon when the victim, Pritesh Babu Makwana (35), was harvesting paddy on a four-bigha farm, adjoining the farm of the accused. Police said that the families of the accused and the victim had been in possession of each other’s farmlands owing to a mix-up and had recently interchanged their farmlands after realising the actual survey numbers. However, the accused continued to abuse the victim and staked a claim on the land they initially held possession of. Later, the victim’s family even sold off the farm to its current owner, Rajnikant Patel, but continued to work on the farm on the basis of a profit-sharing partnership, police said.
Police said that the accused, Pratap Desai Parmar (60) and his two sons, Jagdish (35) and Dashrath (37), got into a heated argument with Pritesh on Sunday afternoon when the deceased along with his family members was working on the farm that has been a bone of contention between the two families. When Pritesh asked the accused to back off, Dashrath allegedly attacked Pritesh on his neck with a sickle, leaving him grievously injured. Pritesh was rushed to the Kheda civil hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
In the FIR lodged with the Kheda Town police station, Pritesh’s cousin, Prakash Makwana, has alleged that the accused were harassing the family for long over the disputed farm and even threatened to kill others. Prakash said, “The accused abused Pritesh while he was harvesting paddy. When my cousin asked them to mind their language, they got even more agitated… Pratap and Jagdish held Pritesh and urged Dashrath to attack him. Dashrath straightaway slashed Pritesh’s neck with the sickle and killed him on the spot. The accused then assaulted my mother and told me that they would kill me in the same way next time.”
Kheda Superintendent of Police Arpita Patel told indianexpress.com, “A probe is on to ascertain the duration of the dispute between the two families as well as the timeline of the events leading to the murder. She added, “We have recorded the primary statement of the current owner of the land in contention and he has told us that the transfer of the land title was completed in his name… The victim’s family has said that they will record their detailed statement after completing the rites of the deceased. A further probe will clear if the accused were also in a dispute with the current owner. The complainant, so far, has said that the deceased had asked the accused to stop harassing their family as they had already sold off the land.”
SP Patel said that police personnel have been deployed in Dhathal village as well as at the homes of the victim and the accused to ensure that the incident does not turn into a law-and-order issue. The accused have been booked under the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, as well as under sections of the Indian Penal Code for murder (302), voluntarily causing hurt (323), provoking breach of peace (504), criminal intimidation [506(2)] and crime committed in presence of abettor (114).
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