A Dalit youth was allegedly stripped and beaten in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Sunday night by a group of men while another was assaulted, The Indian Express reported. The alleged incident occurred at a roadside restaurant in the city’s Sabarmati Tol Naka area. The restaurant owner has been arrested while the other accused are still on the run.
In a video of the purported incident, a youth is seen being stripped and assaulted with sticks. He has been admitted to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, and is said to be in critical condition. The other person accompanying him has not been hospitalised.
According to the police, the attack took place around 7.30 pm on Sunday, when Pragnesh Parmar and Jayesh entered the restaurant. “An argument arose between the owner and Pragnesh, after which the former, along with a few people, began to beat the two young men with sticks,” RH Vala, the officer in charge of Sabarmati police station, told The Indian Express.
The police filed a first information report “under Section 307 [attempt to murder] of the Indian Penal code and sections of the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe Act” against two people identified as Mahesh Thakore and Shankar Thakore. “We apprehended Mahesh, who is the owner of the food shop, and the other accused will soon be arrested,” Vala added.
Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani, who shared a video of the alleged incident, threatened to call a bandh in Ahmedabad if all the accused are not apprehended within 24 hours. “Don’t think Dalits are cowards: we believe in Constitution!” he tweeted.
The incident is reminiscent of the 2016 Una Dalit flogging case. On July 11, 2016, more than 40 men from the upper caste Darbar community assaulted seven members of the Sarvaiya family for skinning a dead cow in Gir Somnath district’s Una town. The Sarvaiyas are leather tanners and skinning dead cattle is part of their traditional occupation. But the assailants accused them of cow slaughter. During the attack, four of the Sarvaiya brothers were stripped, tied to the back of a car and beaten with sticks and iron rods, while some of the attackers filmed the assault.
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