Four persons belonging to upper caste were booked on Monday for allegedly attacking a barber for “cutting hair of Dalits” at Umrecha village of Satlasna taluka of Mehsana district. In a complaint lodged with Satlasna police station, Jasiben Bhagwandas alleged that her son Jigar, who runs a hair cutting salon in the village, was attacked by four persons on Sunday night. She identified the attackers as Govind Chaudhary, Nanji Chaudhary, Rajesh Chaudhary and Vasant Chaudhary, all residents of the same village.
Jasiben has alleged that about 10 days ago, Jigar was warned by the accused persons that he should not cut hair of Dalit men. But Jigar didn’t pay heed to it. The allegation is that Jigar was attacked by the accused just for entertaining Dalits at his shop,” said Sub-Inspector Ratilal Makwana, who is investigating the case.
Makwana said that when he went to the village and recorded statements of several Dalits, all said that they never faced any issue with Jigar. “They told me that no one ever threatened them for going to the barber’s shop,” Makwana added.
Umrecha has a population of about 1,800 people and about about 40 to 50 houses belong to Dalits. According to Makwana, the village never had any kind of caste confrontation nor any history of social boycott of Dalits.
Earlier this month, a 13-year-old Dalit boy was beaten up by five upper caste men for “attempting to look like a Darbar (an upper caste community)” as he wore rajwadi mojari (traditional shoes) and a thick gold chain, usually worn by upper caste men.