Four men have been booked in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar for murder, assault, and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code and under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for beating to death a 45-year-old Dalit woman.
The victim, identified as Gitaben Maru, was killed by the four accused allegedly for her refusal to get her son withdraw a case registered against them under the stringent Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act three years ago.
Deputy police superintendent RR Singhal said Shailesh Koli, Rohal Koli, and their two unidentified accomplices assaulted the woman with steel pipes and she succumbed to her injuries later during treatment.
“We took down Maru’s complaint and registered a first information report (FIR) against Shailesh Koli, his friend Rohal Koli, and their two unidentified aides,” Singhal said.
Maru’s family and the local Dalit leaders staged a protest outside Bhavnagar’s Sir Takhtasinhji General Hospital. They refused to claim her body until all the four accused were arrested.
According to the FIR, Maru suffered multiple fractures and injuries. The accused also threatened Maru’s husband and daughter, forcing them to flee.
In a post on X, Congress lawmaker Jignesh Mevani wrote another case of Dalit murder and atrocity has surfaced in Gujarat. “During the Covid lockdown, Gautam Maru, a youth from Bhavnagar district, was attacked by anti-social elements. Then a police complaint was filed…As the case reached the court, the accused, driven by fear, started threatening the complainant for a compromise,” Mevani wrote in Hindi.
“However, Gautam’s family refused and sought justice through the court. …the accused attacked Gautam’s mother, Gitaben. She was admitted to Bhavnagar Civil Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. This attack occurred on Constitution Day, shedding light on the heightened audacity of hooligans in the state. It underscores how the courage of such elements has risen, and the Gujarat government, as always, remains a foolish observer to the issues concerning Dalits, the deprived, and the exploited.”