Gujarat— In a disturbing incident that unfolded in Mota village, Palanpur taluka of Banaskantha ditrict, in North Gujarat, a Dalit youth faced severe physical assault for his choice of clothing and accessories, while his mother was also subjected to violence when she tried to intervene.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night and has since ignited public outcry. The victim, identified as Jigarbhai Shekhalia, filed a complaint with the police, leading to the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against seven individuals, all belonging to upper castes.
According to Jigar's account, he was standing outside his home on Tuesday morning when one of the accused approached him and issued threats, warning him to stop "trying to fly too high" by dressing up and wearing sunglasses.
The accused also subjected him to verbal abuse and offensive language. Later that same night, while Jigar was near a village temple, he was ambushed by six individuals with Rajput surnames, armed with batons. They berated him for attempting to imitate upper caste individuals through his attire. They forcibly dragged him behind a dairy parlour and unleashed a brutal caning on him.
When Jigar's mother rushed to rescue him, she too was viciously assaulted by the attackers, who tore her clothes in the process. The police complaint filed by Jigar detailed these horrifying events. The FIR has been registered at the Gadh police station, invoking sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to rioting, unlawful assembly, outraging the modesty of a woman, voluntarily causing hurt, and using abusive language, among others.
Additionally, the accused have also been booked under relevant sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. However, as of now, no arrests have been made.
The identities of the seven accused have been disclosed as Dhursinh Cheharsinh Rajput, Bharatsinh Khumansinh Rajput, Sureshsinh Ranjitsinh Rajput, Jaydipsinh Chamansinh Rajput, Bhagvansinh Lakshmansinh Rajput, Jagatsinh Lakshmansinh Rajput, and Pradipsinh Dhursinh Rajput.
The FIR provides further insight into the events leading up to the attack. It states that Jigar, accompanied by his brother Bhupatbhai, was sitting outside their house when Dhursinh, one of the accused, hurled casteist slurs and threatened to kill Jigar for his supposed audacity. Bhupatbhai managed to defuse the situation, and Jigar left for work.
Later in the day, while Jigar was returning home from work, the remaining six accused, intercepted him and launched a violent assault using sticks. Jigar's friend, who was with him at the time, promptly contacted Bhupatbhai for assistance. Subsequently, Bhupatbhai and their mother Sitaben arrived at the scene to rescue Jigar but were met with further aggression from the accused.
Sitaben's blouse was torn during the altercation. With the arrival of more relatives, the accused fled the scene. Both Jigar and his mother were later admitted to Palanpur Civil Hospital for medical treatment.
Gadh police Inspector S B Rajgor said that the accused have been booked under sections 143, 149 (unlawful assembly), 147, 148 (rioting), 354 (outraging modesty of woman), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294 (b) (obscene utterances) and 506 (2) .