//Gujarati Dalits insist Deesa boy was murdered

Gujarati Dalits insist Deesa boy was murdered

AHMEDABAD: Dalit families from Deesa, who have been fighting for justice for one of their boys who was killed recently, reached Ahmedabad demanding that local police file a complaint of murder instead of accidental death. Ramesh Parmar, a resident of Ghada village, was allegedly murdered by an upper caste Thakore Bhopalsinh Vaghela. “Bhopalsinh killed him by running a tractor over him in the field. There were two witnesses but the local police did not file a case of murder. Instead, they dismissed it as an accidental death,” said Ramesh’s father Devji said.

There are over 28 Dalit families living in Ghada. When they insisted that a case of murder be filed, the two eye-witnesses were allegedly threatened. Intimidated, the family fled the village and have been protesting, demanding justice outside the magistrate’s office in Deesa.

The Dalits also submitted a memorandum on August 10 demanding that the officials declare them as ‘refugees’ and provide basic facilities like shelter, food, drinking water, health services and education for their children. In response, the officials accused them of purposefully staying away from the village and being responsible for creating animosity in the village. They were also prevented from holding a protest rally by the police despite having secured permission.

“This is not the first time that Dalits are being exploited in the state. Banaskantha has maximum 12 per cent population of Dalits who are mostly exploited by people from the upper caste. The officials need to take urgent steps to stop this exploitation,” said Varsha Ganguly of Behavioural Science Centre.

5 September 2009, TNN