Rajkot: Group Of Darbar Caste Men Beat Dalit Youth To Death
Rajesh Sondarva’s father, RTI activist Nanji Sondarva, was killed also by members of the same family after he exposed corruption.
A 20-year-old Dalit youth named Rajesh Sondarva died in Rajkot district, Gujarat on Tuesday, May 21, after eight men from the Darbar caste allegedly thrashed him and left him on the road to die.
Damyantee Dhar writing for News Click reported that a police night patrol team found Sondarva crying for help around 12.30 AM on the outskirts of his village Manekwada in the Kotada taluka.
Rajkot Rural Police reportedly said that Sondarva was bleeding due to severe injuries inflicted on both his legs. While he was undergoing treatment, he succumbed to his injuries around 5 AM on May 22.
It is noteworthy that Sondarva’s father, RTI activist Nanji Sondarva, was also killed by members of the same family a year back.
Per the report, a preliminary FIR was registered against six accused men for attempted murder, but after Sondarva passed away, the local police registered a case of murder against eight people.
Dalit rights activist Subodh Parmar, who is associated with Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, told News Click, “Rajesh Sondarva was returning from Rajkot to his village when 15 men caught him and attacked him with swords, inflicting severe injuries on his legs and left him to die. Another man who was accompanying Sondarva was threatened to flee.”
Parmar added, “A year back, members of the same family had killed Nanji Sondarva, father of Rajesh Sondarva… who had raised his voice against the upper caste (Darbar) family, who happen to be socially and politically powerful in the area. The family was living in fear ever since Nanji was killed, as the accused were released on bail.”
A Rajkot Rural Police officer told News Click, “Nanji was murdered by fathers and uncles of the accused of the current case. The two families have been involved in a feud since Nanji Sondarva exposed the accused family of financial irregularities in government schemes through RTI.”
Mahendrasinh Jadeja, the village sarpanch and a member of the accused family is the prime accused in the Naji Sondarva murder case, the report says.
Superintendent of Police in Rajkot district Balram Meena reportedly shirking responsibility, said, “The police had deployed personnel outside Sondarva’s house since the murder of Nanji. However, Rajesh Sondarva had gone somewhere and was attacked on his way back home. Police have found that Rajesh Sondarva’s legs were brutally thrashed and prima facie it seems he died because of profuse bleeding. Six of the eight accused have already been arrested.”
Following the incident, Vadgam independent MLA Jignesh Mevani demanded a probe by a special investigation team into Rajesh Sondarva’s murder. He has also asked for a special rehabilitation package for the victims’ family, police protection for them, a job for the victim’s younger brother and action against Shruti Mehta, Deputy Superintendent of Police who was investigating the murder of Nanji Sondarva.
Mevani and other Dalit activists have been occupying the lobby outside the Rajkot district collector’s office to make the officials pay heed to their demands. Mevani also met the collector in the presence of Sandeep Singh, the Deputy Inspector General of police of Rajkot.