Seven upper-caste men allegedly assaulted a Dalit farmer over a land dispute in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district on Sunday, The Indian Express reported.
Balwant Rathod, 31, was admitted to the civil hospital in Palanpur. He is in a critical condition.
“An FIR has been lodged today [Sunday] evening and efforts are on to nab the accused,” Sub-inspector HD Vadher told The Indian Express.
The accused have been charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act as well as sections 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
On Sunday morning, Rathod called his cousin Vargha Rathod to tell him that the accused had come to his field in Nesda Golap village to kill him. Vargha Rathod told the newspaper that on reaching the spot, he saw men armed with knives, sticks and swords attacking his cousin.
“My cousin was lying in a pool of blood,” Vargha Rathod said. “We took him to a hospital. The accused attacked my cousin over old enmity due to a complaint lodged against them over illegal encroachment of his land. They had also set fire to the fences covering his farmland on Saturday night.”
Balwant Rathod had won back the ownership of his land two years ago with help from Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani, Suresh Rathod, his other cousin, told The Indian Express. “The accused family had illegally encroached upon three acres of land belonging to my cousin over the past three decades,” Suresh Rathod added. “Due to this enmity, he was attacked today [Sunday].”