Gujarat: Dalit Teen Beaten Up For Posing As Member Of “Upper Caste Darbar” Member
In a shocking incident on Wednesday, a 13-year-old Dalit was beaten up by four Rajput youths for wearing Mojdi ( Rajwadi shoe worn by Rajput men), a fake gold chain and according to his attackers, “posing” as a member of the upper-caste Darbar in Becharaji town of Mehsana district, Gujarat. One of the attackers recorded the video of the atrocity and circulated on social media.
According to a report by Indian Express, the victim has been identified as Mahesh Rathod, a resident of Vithalapur village of Ahmedabad district. Mahesh’s family belongs to Valmiki community, which is considered to be among Dalits. The victim’s family earn their living by playing dhol or drum in the village and surrounding areas.
In one of the viral videos shot, the upper caste boys can be seen beating Mahesh and talking about taking the victim to an isolated area. Mahesh can be seen pleading throughout the video. In the second video, the accused boys can be seen thrashing Mahesh at an isolated place.
While two of the accused were seen beating the boy, one was recording their actions. The end of the video shows Mahesh, running off at the first available opportunity, and the attackers chasing him.
Speaking to the media, Mahesh was quoted saying, “This happened yesterday when I had gone to Becharaji to get a haircut. Barbers in our village do not cut our hair. So, I had gone to Becharaji, some 15-20 km from my village. There when I was standing at a shop, these youths asked me about my identity. I told them that I am a Valmiki. So, they got angry at me asking how come, being a Dalit, I stay so ‘etiquette.’ Then I told them that I am a Darbar. However, then they realized that I am indeed a Valmiki. Moreover, so, they started beating me for saying calling myself a Darbar.”
The victims family was reluctant to file FIR against the accused. According to reports some of the Rajput leaders met the father and asked him to resolve the issue without involving the police. They allegedly threatened the father with dire consequences if he does not give in to their demands. However after the video went viral on social media, Dalit leaders and the police rushed to the village and met Mahesh and his family, to provide their support. It was only after they were promised police protection, which the father changed his mind and agreed to file a complaint on Thursday evening.
“After watching the videos on social media, a team of police officials was dispatched to investigate and meet the victim and his family. We have set up 14 teams to locate the accused and provide protection to the victim’s family.” Mehsana Superintendent of Police Chaitanya Mandlik was quoted saying.
According to The Hindu, in the latest development, Gujarat Police on Saturday arrested two people in connection with the brutal assault. They arrested Jaydip Darbar and Cheharsinh Solanki. Shivanand Jha, DGP, Gujarat Police, told reporters that two accused have been arrested while the remaining two will be arrested very soon.
Also published on Medium.