A 21-year-old Dalit man was beaten to death allegedly by men belonging to the upper-caste Patel community, for attending a garba event, in Gujarat’s Anand district in the early hours of Saturday. Police said all eight accused in the case have been arrested.
According to police, Jayesh Solanki, a resident of Vankarvas area in Bhadraniya village, had gone to see the Navaratri festivities near the local temple when he was allegedly accosted by Sanjay Patel of the same village. Sanjay alias Bhimo allegedly made derogatory remarks about his caste and abused him. As the altercation turned violent, Sanjay along with Chintan Patel, Jignesh Patel, Rutvik Patel, Vickey Patel, Dhaval Patel, Ripen Patel and Dipesh Patel, all residents of the same village, reportedly beat him up.
A PTI report said Jayesh was accompanied by his cousin Prakash Solanki and two other fellow Dalits. An officer of Bhadaran police station told PTI that the complaint in the case said that the Patel youths told the Dalits that they “do not have any right to watch garba”.
The incident is said to have taken place around 4 am. Jayesh, whose head was reportedly banged against a wall, suffered multiple injuries and fell unconscious. He was rushed to a private hospital, where he was declared brought dead. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Petlad, J N Desai, who is investigating the case, said “all eight accused have been arrested and further investigation is underway”.
The accused have been booked under IPC Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 302 (murder), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Deputy SP (SC/ST cell) A M Patel told PTI it did not appear to be a pre-planned attack. “Jayesh was killed in the heat of the moment, as there was no rivalry between him and the accused. We are probing the case from all angles,” the officer said. The Anand incident comes days after two Dalit men of a village near Gandhinagar were allegedly thrashed, in separate incidents on September 25 and 29, by members of the Rajput community, for sporting a moustache.
(With PTI inputs)