The family of a Dalit man who was allegedly killed by his upper-caste wife’s relatives in Gujarat claimed they were constantly threatened by the woman’s family since the couple got married six months ago, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.
Haresh Solanki was hacked to death in Ahmedabad district on Monday. Eight men, including his father-in-law, were booked for murder. Police arrested one person identified as Harish Chandrasinh Zala on Wednesday.
“Haresh had eloped with Urmila and initially they had gone to Delhi to spend two months over there,” the man’s father, Yashwant Solanki, told The Indian Express. “I received threats from Urmila’s father, brother and uncle demanding that we return the girl to them.”
Solanki worked as a driver in a private company and had met Urmila almost a year ago in Kadi town of Mehsana district where she was pursuing her graduation. Two months after their wedding, the couple moved from Delhi and began living with Solanki’s family in Gandhidham in Kutch district.
Yashwant Solanki said seven people from Urmila’s family forcibly took her away to Varmor two months ago after she became pregnant. “However, Haresh kept persuading us to talk to her parents and bring her back.”
Yashwant Solanki said Haresh was the sole earning member of the family. “I was earlier posted as a security guard at a company in Gandhidham but I lost that job,” he said. “Haresh was supporting the family single-handedly with his job. Now that he is gone, we have no means of support.”
On Monday afternoon, Haresh Solanki had sought the help of state-run women helpline Abhayam to bring his wife back from her parents’ house. The first information report was filed on the basis of a complaint by Abhayam counsellor Bhavika Bhagora. She said the relatives attacked Solanki when he was waiting in an Abhayam vehicle outside the home as the counsellors were negotiating with the family to let Arpita go back.
Bhagora said the attackers hit her as well, damaged the vehicle with sticks, dragged Solanki out and beat him to death. Solanki’s father-in-law Dashrathsinh Zala is the main accused.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Ahmedabad Rural) PD Manvar said efforts were on to trace the remaining accused, who are members of seven Zala families.
Dalit activist Kirit Rathod said the Mandal police station is 6 km away from Varmor village. “After Haresh was attacked, the lady police constable present at the spot called [police control room number] 100, and according to the FIR, police reached the spot in the next 15 minutes,” Rathod said. “Then how is it possible for all eight accused to flee along with their families within this time period?”