A Dalit man was allegedly kidnapped and stabbed to death by five persons for refusing to drive a Chhakdo rickshaw for a relative of one of the accused at Matalpar village of Jesar taluka in Bhavnagar district, police said on Friday. Four men have been arrested in the matter so far, police added.
Suresh Rathod (22) drove a Chhakdo rickshaw for one Niko, the uncle of one of the accused Gobar Bhaliya, a police complaint submitted by the victim’s father Haribhai claimed. The complainant claimed that Suresh had recently refused to drive the vehicle and this had irritated three of the accused — Mukesh Bhaliya, Himmat Chudasama and Gobar. The three men belong to the Koli community, classified as Other Backward Caste (OBC) and positioned above the Dalits in the social hierarchy in Gujarat.
On Thursday evening, police said, Mukesh allegedly kidnapped Suresh from his residence on a motorbike at Matalpar village and took him near the residence of one Devabhai in the same village. While Mukesh and Gobar restrained Suresh, Himmat and two unidentified men stabbed the 22-year-old to death, police said.
“As Suresh was a Dalit and had dared to refuse to do the work, they kidnapped and murdered him,” the complaint stated.
The Bagdana police has booked Mukesh, Gobar, Himmat and two other unidentified men on charges of murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Superintendent of Police, Bhavnagar district, Jaipalsinh Rathore said four men have been arrested in the case so far. “The victim, too, was facing at least four criminal cases, two of them registered under the Prohibition Act, and also had other disputes with the accused. Suresh had earlier harassed Mukesh’s cousin sister which had led to a scuffle,” Rathore said.
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