Police in Gujarat arrested four people on Monday for allegedly beating a Dalit man to death near Rajkot city on suspicion of theft, an official said.
State legislator Jignesh Mevani identified the victim as Mukesh Vaniya, sharing a purported video of the torture on social media sites. He said the victim’s wife too was “brutally beaten up”.
Vaniya, 40, his wife, Jaya, and another person, Savita, were collecting trash near a factory on the outskirts of Rajkot when they were attacked on Sunday, police said.
Vaniya, who was from the Limbdi area in Surendranagar district, had shifted to the industrial belt of Shaper last week.
“A case of murder and atrocity has been registered against five persons,” deputy superintendent of police DM Chauhan said.
Police arrested Chirag Vora, Divyesh Vora, Jayshukh Radadiya and Tejas Zala, who work at the factory. The fifth accused, who is a minor, too was detained.
Police found that the video circulating on social media was shot by one of the accused. Officials also seized the recordings of CCTV cameras installed inside the factory for investigation.
The suspects also hit the women, who managed to escape from the spot, police said. They returned with others to rescue Vaniya, who died on the way to a hospital in Rajkot, which is about 200km from Ahmedabad.
Mevani, a Dalit leader, said on Facebook the incident was “far more gruesome” than the public assault of four Dalit men by self-styled cow vigilantes in Una town two years ago.
The four men were tied to a car, flogged and paraded half-naked for 15km only to be thrashed outside a police station on July 11, 2016, for allegedly skinning dead cattle.
The incident sparked outrage across the country and evoked a strong political response.
In the Rajkot case, police said the suspects alleged that Vaniya’s group was trying to steal trash. But Vaniya’s wife told police the factory workers misbehaved with her.
“We have been investigating the claims made by both sides,” deputy superintendent Chauhan said.