Attack that triggered moustache protest by Gujarat Dalits was staged: Probe
An attack on a Dalit boy in Gujarat this week that sparked widespread outrage was staged by the 17-year-old victim himself to garner publicity, state police said on Friday.
The 17-year-old victim had alleged he was attacked with a blade in Limbodara village on October 3 for sporting a moustache. But Gandhinagar Police said a forensic team found no blade at the spot and investigators couldn’t trace any attackers or their vehicles. The owner of a local pan shop also told police he saw no such crime.
Police then questioned the 17-year-old, who confessed to have inflicted the blade wound on himself with two other minor school friends.
“I was not attacked by anybody. I inflicted the injury myself with the help of friends just like that,” the minor told Hindustan Times but added that two earlier reports of attacks on Dalit men for sporting moustache– including one on his own cousin – were true. The boy also denied any pressure or threat.
“We also questioned his two friends and their parents who said they slashed their friend’s back on his insistence,” said Gandhinagar superintendent of police Virendra Singh. Police said they are probing the other two alleged attacks.
The boy’s parents refused to comment on the matter.
The three attacks had sparked a wave of fury and an viral online campaign, where Dalit men uploaded photographs of themselves sporting moustaches. The popular campaign was run on social media platform such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook with hashtags such as #RightToMoustache and groups such as ‘Moonch To Rakhenge’.
The boy had alleged he was attacked because he was a witness in the case of his cousin, who was allegedly thrashed by dominant-caste men in their village, around 30 kilometre from Gandhinagar, for sporting a moustache on September 25.
“All the three boys involved in the slashing incident are minors. So far, police have not registered any case against them,” said Gandhinagar deputy superintendent of police (ST/SC cell) R G Bhavsar.
The Dalit Adhikar Manch, the group which had taken up the issue of three attacks and demanded resignation of minister of state for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja, said it was not aware of the development. “We are yet to find out what has been revealed in the investigation’’, said Subodh Parmar, who was detained by the police on Wednesday for protesting in Gandhinagar.