The police in Punjab on Sunday said a 16-year-old Dalit boy, identified as Jaspreet Singh, was tied to a pillar at an abandoned rice mill and burnt to death in Mansa district the day before, The Indian Express reported.
The three accused – Jashan Singh, his cousin Gurjeet Singh, and their friend Raju Singh – also belong to a Dalit community, and have been arrested.
Mansa city police station’s Station House Officer Sukhjeet Singh said: “As per our investigation, Jaspreet Singh was first tied to a pillar with a rope, and then petrol was poured over him before setting him on fire.” He died on the spot.
According to the police, Jaspreet Singh’s elder brother Kulwinder Singh had eloped with Jashan Singh’s sister two years ago. “The couple started living in Budhlada, about 30 km from the city, and had not visited their parents’ houses even once after getting married,” said the police officer. “They also have a one-year-old son. As per information gathered from the family of Jashan, Jaspreet would off and on tease him [Jashan] and his family about this marriage and would say Kulwinder will return and start living with them soon.”
Jashan Singh’s family was reportedly unhappy over the marriage and did not allow the couple to return to Mansa.
Jaspreet Singh’s father Surat Singh said that on Friday night the three accused had come to their house to take his son along with them. A search operation was launched after the 16-year-old boy did not return home.
Punjab State Scheduled Castes Commission chief Tejinder Kaur said the incident was “brutal” and a “cold-blooded murder”. “Commission deals with issues related to Dalits versus other castes, and not Dalits versus Dalits,” she said, adding that the culprits must be punished as per the law.