The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday sent a notice to the Gujarat government over the beating to death of a Dalit ragpicker in Rajkot district on May 20.
Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, the NHRC issued a notice to the Chief Secretary asking for a detailed report on the incident as well as on the steps taken to provide relief for the affected.
The 35-year-old Dalit ragpicker Mukesh Vaniya was allegedly beaten to death in a factory compound near Rajkot district's Shapar town by five people, including the factory owner, who suspected that he and his wife were stealing scrap.
The assailants also roughed up his wife Jayaben Vaniya.
The five accused, including the owner of Radadiya Industries where the incident allegedly took place, were arrested under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act and sections of the IPC relating to murder, assaulting a woman and wrongful confinement, said Gujarat Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja.
The government is taking stern action against the culprits, he said at a press conference yesterday.
"We stand with the family of the victim," Jadeja said, adding that the government had announced a compensation of Rs 8.25 lakh for the kin of the victim.
A video of the incident -- purportedly showing two people taking turns to beat the Vaniya with a stick while another person holds him by a rope tied to his waist -- was circulated widely on social media.
The police arrested the five people based on the video, a police official said.
The arrests followed Jayaben's police complaint on Sunday evening.
Mukesh died while being taken to the government hospital in Rajkot, an official at the Shapar-Veraval police station said.
"A man who used to collect garbage was beaten up by some people at the Radadiya Industries compound near Shapar town yesterday. The factory owner accused him and his wife of theft," Rajkot (rural) in-charge superintendent of police Shruti S Mehta said.
"We have arrested the five people based on the video that purportedly showed the victim being beaten up. An investigation is underway," she said.
The couple was picking through garbage near Radadiya Industries, located in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) area, when they were held and beaten up by the accused.
The factory manufactures and supplies lathe machines.
The five arrested are Jaysukh Radadiya, owner of the factory, and his four friends, Chirag Patel, Divyesh Patel, Jaysukh Radadiya and Tejas Zala, police said.
An FIR was registered under sections 302 (murder), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assaulting a woman to outrage her modesty) of the IPC and the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act, Minister Jadeja said.
"We will also provide them a special public prosecutor whenever the case comes up in the court," the minister said.
(With inputs from PTI)