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Caste

Gujarat: 6 Members of Dalit Family 'Attacked' by 20 for Visiting Temple

No arrests have been made in the case yet. Police have formed eight teams to nab the accused.

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New Delhi: Six members of a Dalit family were allegedly attacked by around 20 men for visiting a temple in their village near Gandhidham town of Gujarat’s Kutch district.

While the alleged incident took place on Tuesday (October 26) at Ner village that comes under the jurisdiction of the Bhachau police station, no arrests have been made so far, deputy superintendent of police Kishorsinh Zala told the news agency PTI.

“Two FIRs were registered in this regard, one by Govind Vaghela and another by his father Jagabhai. The duo claimed that around 20 persons attacked them. We have formed eight teams to nab the culprits,” Zala told PTI.

The case has been registered against a mob of 20 persons, including Kana Ahir, Rajesh Maharaj, Kesra Rabai, Paba Rabari and Kana Koli, on the charges of attempt to murder, dacoity, robbery, assault, and under relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

As per the FIR, the accused were angry that Govind Vaghela and his family had visited the Ram temple at Ner village on October 20 to offer prayers when a ritual was underway.

On October 26, Vaghela was at his shop, when he learnt that some persons had destroyed his standing crop by sending cattle into his field, the complaint stated.

When the complainant and his uncle Ganesh Vaghela reached the spot, the accused attacked them with pipes, sticks and sharp weapons for visiting the temple, the police said.

As per the FIR, the accused had also allegedly stolen a mobile phone and damaged the complainant’s rickshaw.

The complainant has also alleged that the accused had attacked his mother Badhiben, father Jagabhai and two other relatives, and the six victims were treated at a general hospital in Bhuj.

In many places across India, local rules ban entry of Dalit people into temples in contravention of laws under the constitution.

In September, a Dalit family in Miyapura of Koppal district in Karnataka was asked to pay a penalty of Rs 23,000 by ‘village elders’ after their two-year boy entered a local Anjaneya temple.

In June 2020, a 17-year-old Dalit boy was killed by ‘upper’ caste members of his village in Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh, allegedly because he had prayed at a local temple.

(With PTI inputs)