Updated: December 1, 2021 7:24:14 am
Four upper caste members initially accused of the murder of a Dalit family in Prayagraj district, have now been arrested in a separate case filed by the family in September this year, alleging assault and harassment.
An officer at the local police station said the four had been arrested on Monday night, while another person named in the case was already in jail in connection with a motorcycle theft. Earlier in the day, police had cleared 11 people — including the above five — named in an FIR filed by relatives of the Dalit family which was found dead on Thursday. Police have now arrested a 19-year-old Dalit youth for the murders, and accused him of stalking the 23-year-old woman, who was raped before being killed along with her brother and parents. On Tuesday, a local court granted police one-day remand of the youth.
The officer said the four upper caste members, who are related to each other, were arrested in connection with a case lodged on September 29 by the Dalit family, under IPC Sections of rioting, assault and criminal intimidation, and provisions of the SC/ST Act. After the murders, the relatives of the Dalit family had accused police of ignoring complaints of intimidation by them against the upper caste members, and of siding with the latter.
The complaint by a woman related to the Dalit family, based on which the FIR was lodged, reads, “On September 21, around 8.30 pm, when my husband was at home, the five accused broke into our house with lathis and iron rods and beat us up, leading to serious injuries. They beat us up over an old dispute. They threatened to kill us and left only after neighbours gathered.”
In another FIR, lodged in September 2019, the Dalit family had accused the upper caste members of assaulting them for objecting to the latter’s cattle grazing on their land. Police had pressured them to withdraw their complaint, they told The Indian Express earlier.
Since the Opposition raised heat over the murders, two personnel of the local police station have been suspended.
The Dalit family has questioned police claims that the 19-year-old carried out the murders after the 23-year-old spurned his advances. On Monday, police officers did not confirm the evidence they had against the youth.
Two other Dalit youths belonging to the same village as the 19-year-old, located around 2 km from where the Dalit family was killed, who were picked up for questioning, have been released.
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