Gandhinagar police said on Friday that the alleged attack on a 17-year-old Dalit boy in Limbodara village on October 3 was staged.
In a press note the police said that the teenager, who had alleged that upper-caste youths beat him up for keeping a moustache, had got a wound inflicted on himself with the help of two friends, who are also minors, to garner publicity.
“We set up three teams and investigated. The forensic team found no blade at the spot, and the investigators could not trace the attackers or the vehicle. People in the area told us they saw no crime and did not hear a scream,” said Superintendent of Police, Gandhinagar district, Virendra Singh Yadav in a telephone conversation with The Indian Express.
The 17-year-old had alleged that he was attacked with a blade outside Limbodara village by two unidentified persons while he was returning home from school on October 3. He claimed that he was also attacked on September 25 along with his cousin Piyush Parmar (24) for sporting a moustache.
On September 29 in the same village, another 24-year-old Dalit, Krunal Maheriya, was allegedly beaten up for sporting a moustache. In both cases the victims have alleged that the attackers were from the upper-caste Darbar community. Two FIRs were filed and those accused are out on bail. The 17-year-old was not named among the victims of the September 25 case as his family said they feared for his future.
The father of the teenager was present at the press conference with the police. The press note from the police said the father admitted his son made a mistake. “So in this case the FIR is fake…. These are all young kids and we do not want to escalate the matter and ruin their future,” said SP Yadav.
When The Indian Express met the boy in his village, 15 km from Gandhinagar, his mother took him away to the kitchen. “We are discontinuing his education. He has brought shame to us. We will let him take exams externally,” she said. The boy stood in a corner of the kitchen. “I am not under any pressure from anyone. I did it with the help of my friends. I do not know why,” he said.
The men of the family, huddled in the drawing room, took their time to answer each question. “I don’t know what to say,” the boy’s father said. “I was there at the press conference and I admitted that my son was wrong. That is all I have to say,” he said. “He has done it in the stupidity of his age, I guess. The boys who helped him live in front of our house…” he added. Dalits launch mission to make India untouchability-free by 2047
Will his son testify in the September 25 attack case? “Of course,” said the father. “The other guy who was beaten up is his first cousin. The blade case could be fake but the other two cases are not. Even my son was beaten up with his cousin…” he added.
Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit leader, asked: “How are the police so proactive in this case only? Even if the story of the boy is fabricated, as the police allege, it does not change a thing. What happens in the other cases?”