Dalit boy accused of stealing wheat, beaten to death

One of the three accused named by the victim’s family arrested

A 22-year-old Dalit boy was killed allegedly by three upper caste men on suspicion of stealing a bag of wheat in a village in Aligarh on Wednesday.

Police have registered a case of murder and invoked relevant sections of the SC/ST Act against the three accused named by the family of the victim. The main accused has been arrested.

The incident happened in Nagariya Bhood village of Harduaganj town in Aligarh district. Rampal Singh, father of the deceased, told reporters that his younger son Ravindra, who ran a grocery store in the village, was attacked when he returned from the neighbourng Jalali town. “He was parking his motorcycle when Rajbahadur, his son Anurag Singh and nephew Shibbu entered the house and claimed that Ravindra had stolen a 40 kg bag of wheat from their house. They used casteist slurs and kept beating him until he lost consciousness.”

The victim’s elder brother Prem Kishore said those who stole the wheat met Ravindra when he was going to Jalali. “One of them requested him to give him a lift to take the wheat to a flour mill. Ravindra had no idea that he was being used.”

Prem Kishore said the attack happened in front of several villagers, but nobody intervened. Later, members of the Azad Samaj Party and Bahujan Samaj Party reached the spot and demanded action against the accused.

Shubham Patel, Superintendent of Police (Rural), said the body was sent for post mortem, and an FIR lodged against the three accused on a complaint from the family of the deceased. “The main accused Rajbahadur has been nabbed. We are investigating the charges. The allegation of stealing the bag of wheat could have been the provocation for the fight, but it has not been substantiated yet. Perhaps they were drunk as well. We are waiting for the post mortem report,” Mr. Patel told The Hindu.

“There is no caste tension in the area, but we are careful because elections are round the corner,” he added.

In another incident, Saharanpur police booked seven persons for forcibly shaving the moustache of a 22-year-old Dalit boy. The incident happened on July 18, but came to light on Thursday when a video of the incident went viral and members of Azad Samaj Party protested.

This story first appeared on thehindu.com

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