The Nerul police on Wednesday arrested seven people for the murder of a 16-year-old Dalit boy, allegedly by the family of a girl from his neighbourhood.
The police said the boy had been in a relationship with the 17-year-old girl, but her family did not approve. The girl’s brothers had earlier threatened the boy and his family a few times, which they had reported to the police.
The seven people arrested are the girl’s father Rajendra Naik, 50; mother Malti Naik, 43; brothers Sagar Naik, 25, and Sajesh Naik, 21; Durgesh Patil, 22, Asish Thakur, 23; and Sameer Shaikh, 23.
The case has been transferred to the Navi Mumbai crime branch.
According to the police, the boy, a student of Class 11, lived with his family at SBI colony in Nerul, while the girl is a resident of Dharave village in Nerul. The two met at private coaching classes.
“The girl had reportedly sent one a photograph of herself to the boy’s mobile phone. Her family members were furious when they learnt about this and they threatened the boy with dire consequences if he did not stop talking to her. On Monday, they took him somewhere in an auto and let him go after a warning,” said Prashant Khaire, deputy commissioner of police (zone I).
“The boy’s family reported this to the police station but no case was registered as his father was not present that day. Meanwhile, the girl’s family also came to us with complaints against the victim and the matter was discussed in the presence of both the parties,” said Dhanraj Dayama, assistant commissioner of police.
He added, “On Tuesday, when the victim’s father came to the police station, the girl’s brothers went to their home in an auto and took the victim to the building’s terrace. They broke his mobile phone and threatened to throw him off the building if he continued talking to the girl,” Dayama said.
Then they asked the boy and his parents to come to their home and apologise to their parents.
“When the boy and his parents reached the girl’s home at Dharave village around 8.30 pm, a group of people had already gathered there. They verbally abused them, mentioning their community, and within minutes started attacking them with their bare hands. The boy suffered severe injuries to his head and other vital parts of his body. He was taken to DY Patil Hospital but was declared dead shortly after,” he said. His body was handed over to his family after a postmortem on Wednesday. A preliminary medical report said he suffered grievous head injuries. “The auto driver has also been arrested, and more arrests are likely,” Dayama added.
The seven accused were charged under sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping in order to murder), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. They were produced in court on Wednesday afternoon and remanded in police custody for five days.