New Delhi: Haresh Kumar Solanki, a 25-year-old Dalit man, was hacked to death in Gujarat’s Varmor allegedly by his ‘upper’-caste in-laws – while officials from the police’s women’s cell were at the scene attempting to negotiate with his wife’s (Urmila Jhala) family. The killing occurred outside Urmila’s parent’s house.
Haresh and Urmila met while they were in college and got married six months ago, Indian Express reported, but her family brought her back to Varmor from Gangidham, where Solanki is from, in May. She was not allowed to contact her husband, Times of India reported.
Urmila is two months pregnant and currently missing.
According to the report, Haresh sought help from the 181 Abhayam (a women’s helpline in Gujarat) team to convince his father-in-law to allow his wife to come back to live with him. He was reportedly afraid that Urmila’s family would force her to have an abortion. An unarmed woman constable and counsellors went with Haresh to his in-laws’ home.
“While Solanki remained inside the vehicle, officials of the helpline service went to the house of his in-laws and tried to persuade them to send back Urmilaben,” DSP (SC/ST cell) P.D. Manvar told India Today.
“After the round of counselling ended with Dashrathsinh (Urmila’s father) and Urmila, around 7 pm, we got out of the house and approached the car. At that moment, eight people along with Dashrathsinh arrived at the spot, forced Haresh to step out of the car and attacked him with swords, knives, sticks and rods. The Abhayam team was also attacked. We immediately called police for help,” a counsellor who was at the scene, Bhavika Bhagora, told Indian Express.
The accused have been charged under Sections 302 (murder), 332 (causing hurt to public servant to deter them from duty), 353 (assault on public servant), 341(wrongful restraint), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting) and 148 (rioting with deadly weapon) of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The FIR also quotes Bhagora as saying that Urmila’s father abused Haresh and asked him how a Dalit could dare to marry his daughter. Her father, brother and other relatives then stabbed him and slit his throat.
One family member has been arrested so far, Times of India reported, and the police is searching for the rest.
“After the murder, the entire family fled the village before a police team could arrive at the spot. We assume the victim’s wife has been taken forcefully by her parents and other relatives against her wishes and she was not aware of their plan to murder Solanki,” a police officer told Indian Express.