UP: Dalit Teen Killed by ‘Upper Caste’ Men After Entering a Temple

All four accused have since been booked under section 302 of the Indian penal code and the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

New Delhi: A 17-year-old Dalit boy was killed by ‘upper caste’ members of his village in Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh on June 6, allegedly because he prayed at a local temple, according to a report in the Times of India.

As per the deceased boy’s father, an argument had broken out between four ‘upper caste’ men and the boy after he entered a temple in Dhomkhera village on May 31.

“Some people, including Horam Chauhan, a youth from an affluent upper caste family, tried to stop him from entering the temple on the ground of his Jatav identity. But Vikas ignored them and offered prayers there,” Om Prakash Jatav, the father, told The Telegraph.

Om Prakash has also alleged that the boy was beaten then and that the police refused to file an FIR. “After he had finished praying, several upper caste villagers thrashed him. We approached the police at the time but they refused to register an FIR,” he said.

Also read: Nepal: 4 Dalit Men Killed by Upper Caste Mob, Activists Point to History of Discrimination

On Saturday night four men – Lala Chauhan, Horam Chauhan, Jasveer and Bhushan – entered the boy’s home and opened fire. “Hearing the gun shots, we rushed to save Vikas. The four men had fled by then and Vikas was bleeding. He died by the time we reached the hospital,” Om Prakash said.

All four accused have been booked under section 302 of the Indian penal code and the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. “Lala Chauhan and Horam Chauhan have been arrested and the remaining two will be nabbed soon,” a police officer told Times of India.

However, the police have also said that the murder was a result of a dispute over money. During the initial probe, it has come to the fore that there was a dispute between Vikas and the accused over money. “The brother of Vikas had taken a mango orchard on rent. Lala and Horam were also partners with him. Later, they fell out after a money dispute. There was a brief fight over it a few days ago,” Vipin Tada, superintendent of police, Amroha, said.

Another police officer, Niraj Kumar, an officer in charge of the local police station, also claimed that the primary investigation didn’t suggest any dispute relating to a temple or untouchability. “Our investigation suggests the victim, the killer and other youths were playing in a field seven days ago when a fight broke out between them,” he told The Telagraph.