Two dalit men killed over land dispute in Gujarat

Local police said that five of the six named accused have been detained while a team was looking for other suspects.
Last Updated : 13 July 2023, 17:12 IST

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A group of about 20 people belonging to Other Backward Caste (OBC) allegedly killed two dalit men over a land dispute in Surendranagar district. The deceased were brothers who were assaulted last evening and died during treatment on Thursday.

Local police said that five of the six named accused have been detained while a team was looking for other suspects. The incident occurred at Samadhiyala village in Chuda taluka on Wednesday evening. The victims have been identified as Aalji Parmar, 60, and his brother Manoj Parmar, 54.

Surendranagar district superintendent of police Haresh Dudhat, who was at Samadhiyala village, told DH that the incident occurred over a land dispute. He said police men have been deployed in the village to control law and order.

Another local police officer requesting anonymity said that five of the six named accused have been rounded up and will be arrested soon after questioning about the whereabouts of other co-accused. He added that on Wednesday evening, a fight had broken out over the land in question which resulted in the killing of two persons.

The FIR was lodged by Parulben Parmar, who is the sister-in-law of the deceased. The Parmars, who have been living in Ahmedabad for many years, went to their village on Wednesday for farming purposes. After they tilled the land in question, a group of about 20 accused persons attacked them with iron rods and wooden sticks.

The assailants, belonging to the OBC community, damaged their vehicles, tractors, CCTV. The FIR alleges that the accused also robbed the family of Rs1 lakh which they had brought for the purpose of fencing the parcel of the land. It further says that the accused attacked women members also and threw chilly powder into their eyes.

In the attack Aalji Parmar and his brother Manoj sustained serious injuries. A day later they died during treatment at the district civil hospital. On Thursday, the family members refused to accept the bodies demanding immediate arrest of all the accused persons.

The FIR also mentions that the dalit family members had informed the local police as well as collector about the suspects trying to take over the land. The FIR says that they had informed that the accused persons were issuing threats to the victim families. It is said that recently, a local court too had passed the order on the ownership of the land in favour of the victim's family.

"With every passing day, the fate of Dalits in Gujarat is turning from bad to worse. The state is fast becoming the atrocity capital of the country. In an incident in Surendranagar district, 6 Dalits including women were thoroughly thrashed by so-called upper caste men. They were attacked with deadly weapons leading to the death of two. The murder happened over an alleged land dispute," Congress MLA and dalit leader Jignesh Mevani tweeted.

"What is the Gujarat govt doing to stop these endless atrocities committed against Dalits in the state? Can Dalits not even have access to tilt (sic) their own land ? When will these brutalities end?" he said.

Meanwhile, a number of people from Dalit community led by activists and politicians assembled outside the hospital demanding immediate action. When contacted, Rajkot Range, IG, Ashok Kumar Yadav told DH that two police sub-inspectors have been suspended for negligence, while a process to appoint a special public prosecutor has been initiated for speedy trial. He said that a special investigation team has also been formed to complete the investigation.

Published 13 July 2023, 11:31 IST

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