The Gujarat Police on Saturday claimed that the Dalit youth who was killed in Bhavnagar district late Thursday allegedly for keeping a horse used to harass local girls and the villagers were angry with his activities.
District Superintendent of Police Pravin Mal told reporters that initial investigations had revealed that 21-year-old Pradeep Rathod might not have been killed because he was a Dalit and the higher castes had objections over his using and keeping a horse.
Police had already detained three persons in the case.
"The preliminary investigations reveal that the boy was not killed just for owning the horse as has been alleged in the FIR lodged. Instead, we have come across a lot of complaints about objectionable behaviour of the boy from various quarters and perhaps some persons may have killed him for that," he said, adding: "We are trying to ascertain the true reason and nab the culprits."
Rathod from Timbi village, which is an hour's drive from Bhavnagar, was found dead on the streets of the village late on Thursday.
In his police complaint, his father Kalubhai Rathod alleged that Pradeep had received threats from members of upper castes in the village after buying a horse couple of months ago. He had alleged that his son was killed for the very same reason.
Police said that during their investigations, they had received complaints against the character of the boy. "Some villagers complained that the boy would perform stunts on the horse and on motorcycle whenever he confronted young girls. He also used to enter into fights," Pravin Mal said.
Police said that they have also come across multiple complaints against Pradeep's father for being involved in various incidents of land grabbing in the past.
Mal said the police were yet to identify and nab the culprits who killed Pradeep and as for the three persons picked up by them on Friday, they were detained for mere questioning. Four police teams had been constituted further investigate the matter and nab the culprits in the case.
Meanwhile, Pradeep's family on Saturday performed his last rites.