The Vadodara rural police on Friday detained nine youths — eight of them aged under 20 — in three combined cases registered at Padra police station in connection with an alleged murder of a Dalit youth from Navapura area. The deceased and accused were known to each other.
According to police, a brawl broke out between two groups of friends who had gathered for a New Year party at an isolated location in Dhayraj village in Padra taluka on Thursday night and one of the accused fatally stabbed the youth with an ice-carving knife.
Three separate FIRs have been registered at Padra police station in the case and 10 persons, including the deceased Hitesh Vankar (18), have been booked under the The Gujarat Prohibition Act, 1949.
“One FIR is under the Prohibition Act because the group was consuming alcohol. The deceased has also been booked for the same. There is a murder case against the six accused, who belong to one group and another cross-complaint filed by this group against four others, including the deceased, for assaulting and attempt to murder since they had a fight,” Deputy Superintendent of Police HS Makadiya of Padra police station, said.
Main accused Abhijit Jha (20), who allegedly stabbed Vankar and five accomplices have been booked in a separate FIR under IPC section 302 for culpable homicide amounting to murder and for rioting as well as under sections of the SC/ST Act, 1989. Four accused have also been booked in a third FIR for attempt to murder (IPC 307) as well as assault (IPC 323).
Police said the incident occurred at around 10pm on Thursday, when the group gathered at an isolated location in Dhayraj village in Padra taluka to usher in the new year. The youngsters were cooking chicken biryani when a spat broke out between the men. An argument over “superiority” ended in a brawl and Jha stabbed Vankar with an ice-carving knife.
Makadiya told The Indian Express, “The group had come together to consume alcohol. A fight broke out when Jha began bragging over about his ‘power’ and crime history. One of the youths refuted his claim and the verbal war of supremacy esclatated into a physical fight.”
Makadiya said Vankar is believed to have intervened to stop the fight when Jha stabbed him. “Jha was bragging about his arrest in another attempt to murder case registered with the Vadodara city police earlier this year. He was showing off a YouTube video of a local news channel that had reported his old crime, claiming he was a ‘don’. The deceased belonged to the Scheduled Caste and the accused is said to have used casteist comments,” he added.
As soon as Jha stabbed Vankar, his four friends called the emergency service for an ambulance. Vankar, however, was declared dead on arrival at SSG Hospital, where police sent his body for autopsy.
Makadiya added that all nine accused have been detained and sent for Covid-19 test as per protocol.
“They will be formally arrested in their respective cases, after the Covid test reports arrive,” he said.
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