Two arrested for assaulting a Dalit boy in Gujarat
The boy had to miss his class XII English board examination on March 18, after he was abducted from the examination centre in Patan’s Gorad village and assaulted. The alleged reason for the assault was his reported relationship with an upper-caste girl, a charge the victim’s family has denied.
More than a week after a Gujarat Dalit boy was allegedly tied to a tree and beaten black and blue in Patan, the police and the teenager’s family are at loggerheads regarding the identity of the main accused and the motive behind the incident.
On Tuesday, the community leaders of the 17-year-old victim, who was admitted to the Mehsana Civil Hospital, increased the pressure on the police to arrest a bus conductor, who according to the boy, is the main accused.
The Patan police, which has been investigating the case, has not arrested the bus conductor citing lack of evidence. The police have also dismissed the theory that the minor was tied to a tree.
On Tuesday, Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani visited the boy, who had to miss his class XII English board examination on March 18, after he was abducted from the examination centre in Patan’s Gorad village and assaulted. The alleged reason for the assault was his reported relationship with an upper-caste girl, a charge the victim’s family has denied. The boy appeared for the next two examinations under police protection.
“On Tuesday, we met and submitted a representation to the superintendent of police and Collector (Patan) to arrest the main accused (the bus conductor),” said Ramuji Parmar, a member of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM). The bus conductor is said to be the father of the minor girl with whom the boy was allegedly in a relationship.
“While beating the boy, the accused asked him to discontinue his studies and instead start working as a labourer. The theory that he was involved with a girl is a propaganda by the accused to defame the boy,” the boy’s maternal uncle said.
“We have arrested two persons for assaulting the minor, causing hurt, invoking fear and criminal intimidation,” said deputy superintendent of police (SC/ST Cell) RP Zala. One of the arrested accused is the girl’s uncle and the other is her cousin.
Zala, who is also leading the investigation into the case, added, “Ramesh Patel, the bus conductor, named by the victim was not present at the spot at the given time. He was on duty that particular day. We have verified the same from various quarters. He has not been arrested for this reason.”
The officer also said, “The two accused had abducted the boy from the school campus. They took him to a secluded place on a motorbike and beat him up. But he was not tied to a tree.”
While the boy’s family has alleged that the accused had beaten up the boy as they wanted him to stop studying and do labour work, the police have maintained that the incident was the result of the victim’s relationship with a girl from the upper caste.
(The names of the accused and victim’s family members have been withheld to prevent disclosure of their identity.)