‘Want Justice’: Kin of UP Dalit Teen Shot Dead Over ‘Temple Entry’
Vikas Jatav, 17, was shot dead by dominant caste youths allegedly over a dispute regarding entry to a temple.
The Quint DAILY
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“Around 12.30 am in the night, my brother was sleeping on the front porch of our house when four youths stormed inside. One of them shot him dead with a revolver and ran away.”
Dinesh, elder brother of the 17-year-old Dalit boy, Vikas Jatav, who was killed in the wee hours of Saturday, 6 June in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha told The Quint that he “only hopes for justice and demands strictest punishment for those who killed his brother.”
Vikas’ father, Om Prakash Jatav, has alleged that the murder was related to a dispute that broke out between Vikas and the accused a week before the incident, over entry to a temple in their village in Domkhera.
“On 31 May, the accused, Horam Chouhan, and some other youths from the dominant caste stopped my son from entering a temple in our village. I don’t know why they did this. We have been visiting the temple for decades and have never faced such a discrimination.”Om Prakash Jatav
He added, “When Vikas defied their objections, they started thrashing him, threatening him and abusing him using casteist slurs. At that time, we had approached police station but they couldn't protect my son and now he is no more.”
Cops Deny Caste Angle, Say ‘Personal Dispute’ Behind Murder
SHO Neeraj Kumar told The Quint, “There is no caste angle in the incident. There is video evidence that Dalits have been using the two temples in the village for decades. There was some personal dispute between Vikas and Horam over some money that the victim’s family owed them.”
“The dispute had turned violent and Horam hurled some abuses. Later, he was cornered by members of Vikas’ community on the day of the altercation so Horam ran away and wasn’t seen in the village for a week. On 6 June, he returned to the village and committed the murder.”SHO Neeraj Kumar
The victim’s family has denied any dispute over monetary matter and accused the police of trying to subdue the incident.
Three of the four accused, who were identified by the victim’s family, have been arrested. SHO Kumar said, “Another youth who wasn’t identified by the family but whose name had come up during investigation has also been arrested. He had helped Horam in conspiring the murder.”
The accused have been charged with murder and violation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
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