A Dalit man was hacked to death and another shot at and injured by three men — two from the upper caste Darbar community — in Thangadh town of Surendranagar district Wednesday night.
The deceased has been identified as Prakash Parmar (32), a labourer and resident of Ambed-kar Nagar of Thangadh, while his uncle Suresh Parmar (30) has been admitted at Rajkot Civil hospital with a bullet injury. Suresh, a labourer, has lodged a complaint with the police.
Two accused — Naresh Dhandhal and Devraj Jalu, residents of Thangadh — were arrested and efforts are on to nab the third. Prime accused Dhandhal was out on bail in a case under the Atrocity Act when he allegedly committed the crime. Thangadh police said a relative of Suresh lodged a case under the Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act against the accused.
Out on bail, Dhandhal on Wednesday went to Suresh’s house along with two aides, looking for the relative. An altercation took place, following which Dhandhal allegedly hit Prakash with a scythe, causing a head injury. When Suresh tried to intervene, Dhandhal’s aides stopped him. Dhandhal then fired three rounds on Suresh from his revolver and one of the bullets hit Suresh below the right shoulder. Both Suresh and Prakash were rushed to Rajkot Civil Hospital. Prakash died of his injuries.
Thangadh is in news, again for wrong reasons
After the infamous killings of three Dalits in police firing in September 2012, Thangadh is again in the spotlight over atrocities against Dalits. Falling under Surendranagar district, which is often in news for Dalit atrocities, Thangadh has been specifically in focus over the issue since 2012. The state government is yet to make public the report of an inquiry conducted by senior IAS officer Sanjay Prasad in the 2012 killings despite several litigations in that regard. In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections also, echoes of Thangadh could be heard when Valjibhai Rathod, father of one of the three youths killed in police firing in 2012, contested against BJP national president Amit Shah from Gandhinagar constituency as an independent candidate to voice his dissatisfaction with the state government.
Deputy Superintendent of Police BV Basiya said, “One of Suresh’s relatives lodged a case against Dhandhal who was out on bail in that case. Dhandhal was under the impression that Prakash was instrumental in getting the case registered. Therefore, he went for Prakash.”
The incident triggered anger among Dalits. They kept Prakash’s body at Azad Maidan of Thangadh and refused to perform the final rites till the accused were arrested.
Heavy police force was deployed in Thangadh. Top officials of the state government held talks with the kin of the deceased who had put forward several demands such as land, protection, licence to hold weapons and a government job as compensation.
Surendranagar district Superintendent of Police Mahendra Bagadiya,said, “They put forward demands and gave a memorandum to the Mamlatdar. They have been given assurance of compensation as per rules.” Bagadiya added that after the assurance, family members of the deceased took the body and performed the last rites.