An 18-year-old Dalit youth was beaten to death in Uttar Pradesh's Sultanpur, allegedly for demanding the wage promised to him for four days of labour at a farm in Baramadpur village of the district.
"This is the price one pays for being a Dalit in this country. What was his fault? They killed him for just Rs 1200. That's how cheap our lives are," victim's elder brother told The Quint over the phone.
An FIR was registered in connection with the case at the Akhandnagar police station, on 26 August, under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
"At around 3 pm on 25 August he (victim) left for the house of Anuj Yadav on a cycle to collect his wage. At 7 pm, one Girijesh Yadav came to our house and informed us that my brother met with an accident and has been hospitalised at the civil hospital in Ambedkarnagar. We reached the hospital by 8 pm and found him dead," read the FIR registered on the basis of a complaint filed by the victim's father.
"At home, when we looked at his body, it didn't look like an accident. He was his on the back of his with a sharp object," the complaint read.
'Investigation Underway, One Accused Arrested': Police
As per the victim's family, Anuj Yadav's son Digvijaya Yadav and one unknown person took the victim to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Both Digvijaya and the person with him fled the hospital.
Inspector Sanjay Kumar Verma, Station Officer at the Akhandnagar police station told The Quint that while Digvijaya is in police custody, search for the unknown person named in the FIR is still on.
"The case is under investigation. Digvijaya Singh, one of the accused in the case surrendered before the police and is in custody now. We're trying to identify the person who helped him take the victim to the hospital," Verma said.
'They Think It's Their Right to Hit Us': Victim's Brother
After the incident came to light, around 300 Dalits in the area staged a protest demanding strict action against the accused.
"The sections mentioned in the FIR are too weak and these incidents have become commonplace. The administration needs to take a strict against the accused," the victim's brother said.
A daily wage labourer himself, he added, "They think it's okay to hit a Dalit. But even though casteism is rampant in our village, a case like this is still shocking because this has never happened before."