Four upper-caste men were booked on Monday for allegedly assaulting a barber for “cutting the hair of Dalits” at Umrecha village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, reported The Indian Express. Jigar’s mother Jasiben Bhagwandas lodged a complaint at Satlasna police station, accusing Govind Chaudhary, Nanji Chaudhary, Rajesh Chaudhary and Vasant Chaudhary – all residents of the same village – of attacking her son on Sunday night.
Jigar runs a hair cutting salon in the village. Ten days before the attack, the accused had warned him against attending to Dalit customers, alleged Jigar’s mother. “The allegation is that Jigar was attacked by the accused just for entertaining Dalits at his shop,” said Sub-inspector Ratilal Makwana, according to The Indian Express.
But, Makwana, who is investigating the case, said most Dalits in the village told him that they never had any problems with Jigar. “They told me that no one ever threatened them for going to the barber’s shop,” he added.
There have been reports of other caste crimes recently in the state. On June 13, four Rajput men in Mehsana district allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old Dalit boy for wearing a “mojdi”, a type of traditional footwear. “When I was sitting near the bus stop, a group of youths came to me and asked me my caste,” the boy had alleged in his complaint. “When I said that I am a Dalit, they asked me why I was wearing mojdi despite being a Dalit. When I tried to save myself by claiming that I am a Rajput, they forcibly took me to a place and thrashed me.”