Gandhinagar police said on Friday that the attack on a 17-year-old Dalit teenager that had allegedly happened in Limbodara village on October 3 was staged. In a press note the police said that the teenager, who had alleged some upper-caste youths beat him up for keeping a moustache, had got a wound inflicted on himself with the help of two friends, who are also minors, to garner publicity.
“We made three teams and investigated. The forensic team found no blade at the spot and the investigators could not trace the attackers or the vehicle. People around the area told us they saw no crime and did not hear a scream,” said SP of Gandhinagar district Virendra Singh Yadav in a telephone conversation with The Indian Express.
The 17-year-old victim had alleged he was attacked with a blade outside Limbodara village on October 3 by two unidentified persons while he was returning home from school. The boy claimed he was attacked on September 25 too along with his cousin Piyush Parmar (24) for sporting a moustache.
On September 29 in the same village, another 24-year-old Dalit man, Krunal Maheriya, was allegedly beaten up for sporting a moustache. In both cases the victims have alleged that the attackers were from the upper-caste Darbar community. Two FIRs were filed and those accused are out on bail. The 17-year-old was not named among the victims of the September 25 case as his family feared for his future.
The father of the teenager was present at the press conference with the police. The press note from the police said the father had admitted his son’s mistake. “So in this case the FIR is fake…. These are all young kids and we do not want to escalate the matter and ruin their future,” said Yadav.
When The Indian Express met the boy in his village, 15 km from Gandhinagar, his mother took him away to the kitchen. “We are discontinuing his education. He has brought shame to us. We will let him give exams externally,” she said.
The boy stood in one corner of the kitchen. “I am not under any pressure of anyone. I did it with the help of my friends. I do not know why,” he said.
The men of the family huddled in the drawing room and took their time to answer each question. “I don’t know what to say,” the boy’s father said. “My head is too full. I was there at the press conference and I admitted that my son was wrong. That is all I have to say,” he said. “He has done it in the stupidity of his age, I guess. The boys who helped him live in front of our house…” the father added.
Will his son testify in the September 25 attack case? “Of course,” said the father. “The other guy who was beaten up is his first cousin. The blade case could be fake but the other two cases are not. Even my son was beaten up with his cousin…” he added.
Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit leader, asked: “How come the police is so proactive in this case only. Even if the story of the boy is fabricated as the police allege, it does not change a thing. What happens in the other cases?”
Members of the Dalit community of the village cancelled a meeting that they had planned to hold later in the night to discuss the matter.
A few members feel that the father of the boy was under pressure and a few say that he had compromised with the “other” party. “The father is depressed and we do not want to make him feel cornered. We will have a village meeting in a few days. I am worried at a personal level also because my son Krunal has also filed a case (on the September 29 attack). Because of what the teenager and his father have done, I hope my son’s case is not trivialised,” said Ramesh Maheriya.
“I have been calling up people since the time I heard this news. I want to make sure my son’s case sees a fair end. We will make sure we fight. But now because of this there might be an awkward situation in the Dalit community,” Ramesh said.
“Since October 3, there are around 19 policemen deployed in the village. We have never seen so many policemen in our village. Does it even look like Diwali is round the corner?” Ramesh asked.