Cop Claims Gujarat Dalit Killed for ‘Harassment’, Not Owning Horse
The Gujarat Police on Saturday, 31 March, claimed that the Dalit youth Pradeep Rathod who was killed in Bhavnagar district late Thursday for allegedly keeping a horse, used to harass local girls and the villagers were angry with his activities.
District Superintendent of Police Pravin Mal told reporters that while speaking to villagers, there were complaints about the 21-year-old Rathod. He theorised that Rathod might have been killed for that reason, rather than because he was a Dalit and the higher castes objected to him using and keeping a horse.
Three people were arrested in connection with the case on Saturday, 31 March.
“The preliminary investigations reveal that the boy was not killed just for owning the horse as has been alleged in the FIR lodged. Instead, we have come across a lot of complaints about objectionable behaviour of the boy from various quarters and perhaps some persons may have killed him for that,” said Pravin Mal, adding: “We are trying to ascertain the true reason and nab the culprits.”
Rathod, from Timbi village – an hour's drive from Bhavnagar – was found dead on the streets of the village late on Thursday. His family had said they would not accept the body until the culprits are arrested.
In his police complaint, his father Kalubhai Rathod alleged that Pradeep had received threats from members of upper castes in the village after buying a horse a couple of months ago. He had alleged that his son was killed for that reason.
Police said that during their investigations, they had received complaints against the character of the boy. "Some villagers complained that the boy would perform stunts on the horse and on motorcycle whenever he confronted young girls. He also used to enter into fights," Pravin Mal said.
Pradeep was helping his father at the farm after passing his matric exams. Official sources told IANS that the state government has deputed senior police officials to get a first-hand report on the situation.
As per the IANS report, Timbi village is home to around 3,000, of which 10 percent are Dalits.
Siddaramaiah’s ‘Shah of Lies’ Jibe
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah lashed out at the BJP for the Dalit youth’s murder. Training his guns on BJP chief Amit Shah, the Karnataka CM tweeted: “Shocking inhumanity towards Dalits in Gujarat! Yet, a certain Gujarati gentlemen (Amit Shah) comes here (Karnataka) with a bag full of Jumlas and promises heaven to Dalits, if they question him, they are branded as Congress goons”.