Dalit youth beaten to death for watching Garba event in Gujarat

Gandhinagar: A youth from India’s lowest caste has been killed by a group of higher-caste men for attending a traditional Hindu dance performance, police said on Monday.

A 21-year-old Dalit man was beaten to death allegedly by men belonging to the upper-caste Patel community, for attending a garba event, in Gujarat’s Anand district in early hours of Saturday.

All eight accused in the case have been arrested, police said.

Jayesh Solanki, 21, and his cousin Prakash were allegedly attacked late on Sunday when they went to watch garba ─ a folk dance performed during the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri.

According to police, Sanjay Patel alias Bhimo allegedly made derogatory remarks about Solanki’s caste and abused him. As the altercation turned violent, Sanjay along with Chintan Patel, Jignesh Patel, Rutvik Patel, Vickey Patel, Dhaval Patel, Ripen Patel and Dipesh Patel, all residents of the same village, reportedly beat him up, The Indian Express reported.

A PTI report said Jayesh was accompanied by his cousin Prakash Solanki and two other fellow Dalits. An officer of Bhadaran police station told PTI that the complaint in the case said that the Patel youths told the Dalits that they “do not have any right to watch garba”.

Jayesh, whose head was reportedly banged against a wall, suffered multiple injuries and fell unconscious. The incident is said to have taken place around 4 am.

The young man was taken to a hospital in Karamsad, where he died later in the morning.

Dalits, formerly known as the “untouchables”, are among the most marginalised groups in India, where caste discrimination is outlawed but remains widespread.

Last week two Dalits were allegedly beaten up by upper-caste Hindus in Gujarat for sporting moustaches.

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