In a shocking incident, a Dalit youth was on Monday night allegedly hacked to death by higher caste members in a town near Ahmedabad when he went to pick up his newly wed wife from her parents' home along with a team of the Gujarat Government's Abhyam Helpline.
The Ahmedabad Rural police have lodged an FIR for murder invoking various sections of the Atrocities Act and arrested one person in connection with the case, while seven others are absconding. Police said a search was on for the others, who all belong to the same village.
According to the FIR lodged by Bavika Bhagora, a counselor of the Abhyam Helpline, who was accompanying the deceased Haresh Solanki, 25, they had gone to pick up his wife Urmila Jhala belonging to the high-caste Darbar community when the incident occurred in Varmor village in Ahmedabad district's Mandal tehsil.
A group of around 10 people attacked them and damaged the official SUV of Abhyam Helpline of the Gujarat government before killing Solanki with sharp weapons. Abhyam team members also sustained injuries. The window panes of the vehicle were destroyed by the assailants. Solanki died on the spot.
Dalit rights activist Kirit Rathod, who rushed the spot, told IANS from outside the Mandal Police Station that the couple met each other when they were studying in an arts and science college in Kadi town and got married six months ago. Solanki hails from Gandhidham in Kutch district, while his wife belongs to Varmor in Ahmedabad district.
"This was an inter-caste marriage and the girl's family was against it since Solanki was a Dalit. After the marriage, they sweet-talked Urmila and took her home with a promise that she will return to her husband soon," Rathod said, quoting the FIR and Solanki's family.
Haresh Solanki approached the 181 Abhyam Women Helpline after the girl's family refused to let her return.
"They decided to counsel the girl's family and send her with Solanki. They went in the Abhyam's vehicle. Initially, the family members did talk to the helpline members and Solanki but soon several people gathered there and attacked them," Rathod added.
Watch | Patidars stall Dalit wedding procession with stone pelting and bhajans