A Dalit man was allegedly hacked to death on Wednesday and his uncle was shot by three men in Thangadh town of Surendranagar district, The Indian Express reported. Two of the three men have been arrested.
The deceased, 32-year-old Prakash Parmar, was a resident of Ambedkarnagar in Thangadh. His uncle, Suresh Parmar, is undergoing treatment at the Rajkot Civil Hospital for a bullet wound.
The accused, Naresh Dhandhal and Devraj Jalu, are both residents of Thangad and belong to the upper caste Darbar community. Police arrested the two and are looking for a third accused. Dhandhal was out on bail in a case filed under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act when he committed the crime.
“One of Suresh’s relatives had lodged a case [under the Atrocity Act] against Dhandhal who was out on bail in that case,” Deputy Superintendent of Police BV Basiya told the newspaper. “Dhandhal was under the impression that Prakash was instrumental in getting the case registered. Therefore, he went for Prakash.”
Dhandhal and his associates were looking for a relative of the deceased called Babu Parmar, who reportedly filed the case against Dhandhal. When Prakash Parmar refused to disclose his relative’s whereabouts, one of the accused hit him on the head with an axe. “When Prakash’s uncle Suresh Parmar tried to intervene, Dhandhal fired three bullets at him, one of which hit him in his ribs,” The Times of India quoted an unidentified official as saying.
Members of the Dalit community staged a protest with Prakash Parmar’s body at Azad Maidan in Thangadh and refused to perform the final rites until the accused were sent to jail, according to Dainik Jagran.
Police personnel were deployed to prevent any law and order situation in the locality. State government officials met with Prakash Parmar’s family, who allegedly demanded land, protection, licence to carry weapons, and a government job as part of their compensation.
“They put forward demands and gave a memorandum to the Mamlatdar,” Surendranagar District Superintendent of Police Mahendra Bagadiya said, according to The Indian Express. “They have been given assurance of compensation as per rules.” He said Prakash Parmar’s family performed the final rites only after authorities assured that their demands would be met.