The National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday issued a notice to the Gujarat government over the alleged murder of a 40-year-old Dalit man, Mukesh Vaniya, in Rajkot district.

“The commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights of the victims,” the notice said, adding that the commission has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports. “Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the chief secretary to the government of Gujarat, calling for a report in the matter within four weeks, along with measures taken for relief to the affected families.”

Vaniya’s wife said she and her husband were out looking for work when employees from a factory at Shapar village in Rajkot asked them their caste. When the couple said they were Dalit, the employees asked them to pick up garbage from around the factory. “We refused to pick it up because they were not willing to pay us for it,” said Jayaben. “They told us that we are from a low caste, so this is our work.”

After Vaniya and his wife refused, they were beaten up. When Vaniya’s aunt Savitaben arrived and tried to intervene, they beat her up too. Vaniya was picked up, tied to a pole and assaulted brutally with metal rods for more than two hours. A video of the incident was also recorded. Vaniya died as a result of the assault.

The police have arrested five men, including the owner of the factory, based on a complaint filed by Vaniya’s wife and charged them with murder as well as under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.