The accused were charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
A 27-year-old Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death over suspicion of theft after he was abducted by members of another caste in a village in Banaskantha in Gujarat, The Indian Express reported on Friday. Six people have been arrested in connection with the assault.
The incident took place on Thursday when Pintu Galchar, a daily wage worker and a resident of Ravi village in Dhanera taluka, was allegedly abducted from outside his house by a group of six men. A day later, Galchar’s naked body with several injury marks was found near a bus stand at a tri-junction road outside Ravi village, the police said.
“The accused suspected Galchar of stealing Rs 5,000 about a week back and it was for this reason that they took him away for questioning,” District Superintendent of Police Tarun Duggal told The Deccan Herald. “They beat him up and after finding that he was dead, they left him at the spot where the dead body was found.”
Hours after the body was discovered, a first information report was filed at Dhanera police station by Pintu’s younger brother Sanjay Galchar. In his complaint, the brother identified six men – Hansraj Purohit, Chetan Purohit, Rama Purohit, Ramabhai Babuji Purohit, Kirti Purohit and Gautam Purohit – who were allegedly behind the assault.
“Around 10 pm [on Thursday], Hansraj, Chetan, Ramabhai, Kirti and Gautam arrived in a Bolero Camper vehicle and forcefully took him [Pintu] away with them,” Sanjay Galchar said. “Next morning, we were told that his body has been found near a bus stand.”
All six accused were arrested and have been booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code pertaining to murder, abduction, obscenity and unlawful assembly. They have also been charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
“We have now detained all six accused mentioned in the FIR and they are being interrogated,” Dhanera Police Inspector SA Dabhi told The Indian Express. “The victim’s postmortem report is awaited to confirm reason behind his death and team of forensics have also collected evidence. The deputy superintendent of police [SC/ST cell] has been made the investigating officer in the case.”
An unidentified senior police official in Banaskantha said that prima facie the accused suspected Pintu Galchar of being a thief, but added that all angles in the case were being investigated.
Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani reacted to the incident on Friday and said it was clear that the victim has been stripped and dragged after his gruesome murder. “Till all accused are held, we will not sit quietly,” he had said. “We hope that free and fair investigation is carried out and proper chargesheet is filed in accordance with the law. Justice must be ensured.”