Dalit man beaten to death for allegedly watching dance event during Hindu festival of Dussehra

Jayesh Solanki was with his cousins and friends watching people dance as they celebrated the Hindu festival of Dussehra - Representational imageREUTERS/Amit Dave

In a shocking incident that happened in the western Indian state of Gujarat, a 21-year-old Dalit (formerly untouchable) man was beaten to death for allegedly watching a dance event during a Hindu festival celebration.

According to reports, Jayesh Solanki along with his cousins and friends were watching the Garba, a traditional dance, as people were celebrating the Hindu festival of Dussehra. Then suddenly a man, Sanjay Patel, from the upper caste community came and started abusing them. Patel also opposed their attendance so close to the temple.

"The accused said Dalits 'do not have any right to watch Garba'. He made casteist remarks," a police officer, who is investigating the case, said.

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The police complaint lodged by Solanki's cousin, Prakash, stated that Patel then left and returned with seven others, one of whom slapped Prakash. When Solanki tried to intervene, he was beaten and his head was banged against a wall, India Today reported.

Later, he was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

All of the eight men have been arrested and booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 302 (murder), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Deputy superintendent of police, A M Patel, told PTI news agency that it did not appear to be a pre-planned attack.

"Jayesh was killed in the heat of the moment, as there was no rivalry between him and the accused. We are probing the case from all angles."

The incident came days after two Dalit men were allegedly thrashed in separate incidents for sporting a moustache. The incident happened on 25 September and 29 September, respectively at in Gandhinagar district of Gujarat state.

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