A Dalit man on Tuesday tried to self-immolate alleging police inaction regarding a complaint he filed after he was allegedly insulted by two men belonging to an upper caste community. The incident took place outside the district collector office in Sundernagar. The man was, however, overpowered and taken into preventive custody.
Devji Rathod, a resident of Vadala village in the district, tried to set himself on fire with his family present on the spot. “After taking him into preventive custody, we produced Rathod before a magistrate in the evening. Since Rathod could not furnish bail bond, the court gave him time for a day to arrange for his bail bond and sent him to judicial custody for a day,” Wadhwan police sub-inspector Hitesh Jethi said.
Shivaji Pawar, deputy superintendent of police of SC/ST cell, Surendranagar said that Rathod had filed a complaint with Wadhwan police station on May 14. In his complaint, the 36-year-old had alleged that Jagdish Kher and Shaktisinh Kher had insulted and abused him when he complained to them of corruption in desilting Vadala village pond under the ongoing Sujalam-Sufalam Jal Sanchaya Abhiyan of the state government.
“Jagdish is deputy sarpanch of the village and Rathod alleged that there was corruption in removing silt from the village pond. The investigation in the case so far has revealed that the complainant had in fact rushed to the spot with a stick. We have recorded statements of a government engineer and another Dalit man who were present at the alleged crime scene and both of them have stated that nobody abused or insulted Rathod. We have also recorded the statement of taluka development officer of Wadhwan and he has stated that work had been sanctioned to desilt the village pond. The investigation is on and we are gathering evidence against the accused. But since we do not have enough material against the accused just as yet, we have not arrested them,” Pawar told The Indian Express.
However, police said that Rathod was demanding an immediate arrest of the accused. Surendranagar SP could not be reached immediately for comment.