The father of a 28-year-old Dalit man allegedly lynched last month in Rajasthan’s Alwar district died on Thursday, with his family claiming that he committed suicide after receiving regular threats to drop the case against his son’s suspected attackers, The Indian Express reported.
The family of 60-year-old Rattiram Jatav said the police had failed to arrest those accused of murdering his son Harish Jatav despite repeated requests. Harish Jatav was beaten by people on July 16 after his motorcycle hit a 55-year-old Muslim woman. The incident occurred in Phalsa village while Harish Jatav was on his way back from Bhiwadi.
After treatment at a local hospital, Jatav was taken to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where he died two days later. While Harish Jatav’s family claimed he was a victim of mob lynching, the police claimed that accounts by independent eyewitnesses did not establish a case of mob lynching.
“For the past four-five days, the people who killed my brother were threatening my father,” claimed Rattiram Jatav’s son-in-law Dinesh. “Their names are Jamaluddin and his wife’s name is Hakeeman. My father was worried. He suddenly consumed some substance at home. He told me that Jamaluddin’s children had threatened him, saying that either he withdraws the case or they will kill us.”
In his complaint to the police, Jamaluddin had claimed that Harish Jatav was inebriated when he hit his wife, who fell unconscious. Rattiram Jatav had accused a person identified as Umer Sher and his aides of assaulting his son.
“We made regular rounds of the police station but they did not listen to us and abused us instead,” Dinesh added. “We are poor people. What do we do? We demand that the people who killed my brother and threatened my mother should be given strictest punishment.”
He said the authorities should help his family. “My father was blind,” Dinesh added. “Had the police taken some action, my father wouldn’t have left us like this.”
Alwar Superintendent of Police Paris Deshmukh dismissed the family’s allegation of police inaction. “Whether Jatav has committed suicide or not will be evident after getting the post-mortem report,” he added. “Prima facie, during the investigation, we found that the family’s claim of mob lynching wasn’t correct. We even changed the investigating officer to ensure a fair probe. Further investigation is going on.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, criticised the government and administration. “The youth was killed by members of a certain community,” alleged BJP MLA from Alwar Sanjay Sharma. “Even in the beginning, the police wanted to portray the incident as an accident. After the issue was raised, an IG level officer had investigated and the case was changed under Section 302 [murder case].”