16-year-old Dalit tied to pillar, burnt alive in Punjab

The 16-year-old victim, Jaspreet Singh was burnt alive by three neighbours in Punjab's Mansa district

Representative image. (Image from Pexels)

A 16-year old Dalit boy was beaten, then tied to a pillar with a rope and set on fire after being soaked with petrol in Punjab’s Mansa district. A piece of cloth was stuffed inside the teenager’s mouth so that his cries while on fire do not attract attention.

The boy was charred to death within minutes. The police on Monday said the post-mortem report of the deceased boy, identified as Jaspreet Singh, is awaited while the hunt for the accused his frantically underway.

The brutality has shocked residents of the area. The gory crime was a handiwork of three persons - Jashan Singh, Gurjeet Singh and Raju Singh - who planned the murder in cold blood, the police said. 

The murder of the Dalit boy in the village has its roots in a feud between neighbourhood families that started because of a marriage about two years ago. According to sources, Jaspreet’s elder brother Kulwinder fell in love with a neighbourhood girl Rajo Kaur, who is the sister of one of the accused Jashan. Kulwinder and Kaur eloped some time ago and got married. The two families developed estranged ties ever since then.

The couple recently had a baby. Jaspeet celebrated the arrival of his nephew by distributing sweets and claimed that his brother and his wife would return soon. This irked the family of the girl who were averse to any attempt of reconciliation. On Sunday, the three accused called on Jaspreet. They managed to convince him to go out together. Jaspreet was forcibly taken to an abandoned rice sheller unit in the near vicinity. He was tied to a pillar and then burnt alive.

The police have registered a case against three accused, who were also from the Dalit community. Dalit organizations have condemned the horrific crime. However, they maintain that their active role begins in cases where atrocities and crime is committed by upper caste persons against Dalits and not in cases of Dalits against Dalits. They say it is for the police to act against the accused with complete seriousness. 

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