Following the reports of a Dalit ragpicker being beaten to death allegedly by five people in Rajkot district's Shapar town, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Gujarat government and sought a report from chief secretary within four weeks.
"The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media report that a 40-year-old Dalit ragpicker was beaten to death at Shapar village in Rajkot district on 20 May, allegedly over the issue of collecting scraps in the area", the commission said in a statement.
Mukesh Vaniya and his wife Jayaben were picking through garbage near Radadiya Industries in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) area on Sunday when they were allegedly beaten by the accused, including the owner of the factory.
While Vaniya was reportedly beaten to death, Jayaben was roughed up. The commission observed that if the details highlighted in the media are true, it raises a "serious issue" of violation of human rights.
"Accordingly, it (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Gujarat, calling for a report in the matter within four weeks along with measures taken for relief to the affected families", the NHRC said in a report.
A video of the incident — purportedly showing two people taking turns to beat Vaniya with a stick while another person holds him by a rope tied to his waist — was circulated widely on social media.
The police arrested the accused on Monday based on the video. They were booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act and sections of the IPC relating to murder, assaulting a woman and wrongful confinement. An investigation is underway.
Dalit leader and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani took up this issue on social media.
'Mr. Mukesh Vaniya belonging to a scheduled caste was miserably thrashed and murdered by factory owners in Rajkot and his wife was brutally beaten up'.#GujaratIsNotSafe4Dalit pic.twitter.com/ffJfn7rNSc
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) May 20, 2018
"This is far more gruesome incident than Una. In Una, the victims were beaten up and humiliated. Whereas, here a man lost his life amidst caste violence. While, Vaniya belonging to a Scheduled Caste was miserably thrashed and murdered by factory owners in Rajkot, his wife was brutally beaten up. The government of Gujarat has still not learned from its past mistakes", Mevani said in a Facebook post.
According to a report in The Hindu, the Gujarat government has announced compensation of Rs 8.5 lakh to the victim’s family and given an assurance that the guilty would not be spared.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: May 22, 2018 14:23:50 IST