Gujarat: ‘Upper-caste’ man murders Dalit woman in Rajkot village, then consumes poison

A Dalit woman was allegedly murdered by a man from the upper caste in a village in Rajkot district Tuesday, with her husband alleging that the accused tried to rape his wife. The police, however, ruled out any caste angle to the crime at this stage.

The incident took place at around 7:30 am when the victim and two other women were on their way to an agricultural farm in the village, the police said.

After the assault, the accused consumed poison in an attempt to commit suicide. His condition was reported to be critical.

The victim’s husband, in his complaint, stated that while his 27-year-old wife and two other women were walking towards the agricultural field to work as labourers and harvest pearl millet crop, the accused intercepted the three women in a deserted section of road. “He grabbed my wife’s hand with an intent to rape her. When she resisted, he hit on her head with a handle of shovel,” the husband said in his complaint.

The police said that the Dalit woman, a mother of two, died on the spot, adding that the accused also assaulted and injured the two other women who were accompanying the victim. The police also said that the victim and the accused were both residents of the same village.

Commenting on the incident, Rajkot Rural Superintendent of Police (SP) Balram Meena said the motive of the murder was not established immediately. “The accused consumed pesticide after assaulting the women and is in an intensive care unit in a hospital. Either the accused can tell (the motive of the murder) or the victim can tell. The victim is no more and the accused is not in a condition to say anything because he himself engulfed pesticide and his health is very critical,” SP Meena told.

The SP further said that the accused ambushed the victims. “The eye-witnesses have said that the accused came directly heavily on them. Both of them tried to save her but he told that they should not intervene otherwise he would attack them as well. So, I think somehow, it is personal. But we are verifying if it was something personal or otherwise,” Meena added.

The police officer, however, said that he didn’t see any cast angle to the crime at this stage. “Because both are from the same village it never came to us that something was boiling there in the name of caste,” the SP added.

Meanwhile, Jignesh Mewani, the independent MLA from Vadgam constituency, condemned the incident and demanded that Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should take action against the culprit. “In the district of Vijay Rupani, an upper-caste man murdered a Dalit girl because she refused to share a bed with him. There is no right to life nor dignity. Does Manusmruti rule here? CM sir, please do take action,” the Dalit leader tweeted.

But the SP said that the two women, who witnessed the crime, had not reported any attempt to rape. “Secondly, her husband has given a complaint in which he has stated that she was assaulted. So, we have registered an offence,” SP Meena said, adding that the investigation in the case was in the primary stage.

Based on the victim’s husband’s complaint, the accused has been booked for murder, voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint, criminal force to a woman with the intention to outraging her modesty, sexual harassment and under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.


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