A group of men allegedly chopped off the thumb of a Dalit man after an altercation over his son picking up a cricket ball during a match at a school playground in a village in Gujarat’s Patan district on Sunday, police said.
The incident happened in Kakoshi village and the victim has been identified by police as Kirti Parmar. His brother Dhiraj Kumar Parmar, who was also asaulted, filed a complaint with the police and a first information report (FIR) has been registered.
K K Pandya, DySP Siddhpur, said that police have booked seven individuals, with four already arrested.
Dhiraj Kumar Parmar, who works as a labourer, said that the family had gathered near the school ground to celebrate his eight-year-old nephew’s birthday. One of the accused individuals, identified as Kuldipsinh Rajput, became enraged and issued threats to the boy after he picked up the ball while watching the match.
The FIR, seen by HT, said that the attackers resorted to hurling casteist slurs during the assault.
Dhiraj said that the situation seemed to calm down after his interference. However, later in the evening, a group of men attacked them at separate places, he alleged.
The named accused individuals are Kuldipsinh Rajput, Siddhrajsinh, Raju alias Rajdip Darbar, Jashvantsinh Rajput, Chakuba Lakshmanji, and Mahendrasinh. They face charges of rioting, voluntarily causing hurt with dangerous weapons, and sections of the atrocity act.
Meanwhile, Siddhrajsinh, one of the accused, has filed a cross-complaint against Kirti Parmar and others. He alleged that Kirti Parmar had attempted to strike Kuldipsinh with a sword, and Siddhrajsinh, in an attempt to stop him, sustained an elbow injury from the weapon.
A police official at Kakoshi police station said the matter is under investigation.
On May 30, a Dalit man was allegedly beaten by a group of individuals in Mota village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district. According to police, the accused individuals expressed their displeasure over the victim’s choice of clothing, including his well-dressed appearance and sunglasses.
According to government data on offences registered under the Scheduled Caste/Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1,425 offences were reported in Gujarat in 2022.
“These statistics paint a troubling picture of ongoing discrimination and violence faced by Dalits in the state. From not allowing a groom to sit on a horse to beating up Dalit youths for sporting a moustache or not allowing them to enter public places, the cases are rising at an alarming rate. There is also lot of under-reporting of such cases,” said Kantilal Parmar, a Dalit rights activist in Gujarat.