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Dalit youth thrashed in Gujarat over social media 'comments'

The accused are also alleged to have broadcast their act of violence live on social media, a video of which is widely under circulation
Last Updated : 22 December 2022, 17:09 IST

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A group of seven youths in Vadodara flogged a Dalit youth with their belts, punched, kicked and dragged him by his hair in full public view allegedly over a "comment" on social media. Police, however, suspect the assault was a result of "one-sided love-affair".

Four of the suspects were detained on Thursday and will be arrested after their Covid-19 tests.

The accused are also alleged to have broadcast their act of violence live on social media, a video of which is widely under circulation. The incident occurred on December 11 at Bhayli village under the Vadodara taluka police station area.

According to the FIR, at the time of the incident, the Dalit victim Alpesh Parmar was sitting with a girl, said to be a local fashion designer, near Sevasi canal road. The seven youth, belonging to Rajput and OBC communities, thrashed Parmar while allegedly hurling casteist slurs.

The FIR has been registered for rioting, assault and criminal intimidation and sections of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe (prevention of atrocities act) against unidentified persons as the victim, Parmar didn't identify anyone.

Parmar, 24, filed the police complaint on December 21, after learning about the video footage, which showed him getting beaten up by the accused. He stated in the FIR that the accused had warned him against going to the police, which forced him to keep quiet. The accused are alleged to have uploaded the video on social media platforms with a warning that “it could happen to those who make negative remarks during our live (telecast)”. The video ended with the “Jai Rajputana” slogan.

Police said that Parmar had befriended the girl through social media and had exchanged numbers. The duo met on a couple of occasions as well but their friendship didn't last. Police said that Parmar allegedly posted some objectionable comments on social media about the girl and her friends, which led to a controversy.

Despite repeated attempts, Parmar didn't respond to DH while the girl's father said that he was also "inquiring about the incident".

"The girl has a big following on a social media platform. On December 11, she had gone to a temple and made her visit live. Parmar got to know through live telecast and stalked her. The girl called up her friends that including the suspects who thrashed Parmar," a police officer said, adding the girl herself told the cops that she was being "stalked".

The Vadodara Superintendent of Police Rohan Anand told DH that four of the suspects were rounded up for investigation. They have been identified as Mahipal Chavda, Tushar Solanki, Piyush Rathod and Pranav Solanki.

On the other hand, the case was also highlighted by Gujarat Congress working president and MLA Jignesh Mevani who termed the incident "an attempt to lynch a Dalit youth in full public view."

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Published 22 December 2022, 17:09 IST

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