Police in Gujarat’s Aravalli district have arrested five men, all from the OBC category, for beating a 52-year-old Dalit man to death on the suspicion that he stole a sheep. The five were arrested nearly two weeks after the incident on a complaint by the victim’s son. Bharatbhai Khant, Chandubhai Khant, Kantibhai Khant, Ghulabhai Khant and Kalubhai Godha were arrested the postmortem report stated that Punaji Kavaji Bodat died of internal injuries.
According to police, Bodat, a farm labourer, was passing through Kundol village on December 24 when he was caught by a group of people, which suspected that Bodat stole a sheep from a villager’s farm. “Bodat was beaten up by some villagers and then taken to Shamlaji police station. My initial probe suggests that a compromise was struck and Bodat was allowed to go. No one filed a complaint,” said DSP Naresh Kanzariya, in-charge of SC/ST cell, who is probing the case.
Bodat’s son Ramesh said, “Policemen made us sign some documents and told us to leave. I and my father were returning home on my motorcycle. We were about to reach when he told me to stop. He got up from the seat and collapsed. He never woke up again.”
“The postmortem was conducted by a panel of doctors at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. The report revealed that Bodat was beaten up. His rib was broken and there were many external injuries that led to his death,” said DSP Kanzaria.
Meanwhile, all the five accused were sent to police custody for two days. They have been booked for murder and under various sections of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.