Gujarat: Dalit woman pays the price for son’s pursuit of justice

| Updated: 28 November, 2023 6:36 pm IST
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NEW DELHI: A 45-year-old Dalit woman in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, lost her life after reportedly being assaulted by four men. The motive behind the attack is believed to be her refusal to compel her son to withdraw a case filed against the assailants under the stringent Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act three years ago.

Deputy Police Superintendent RR Singhal reported that Gitaben Maru was attacked with steel pipes by Shailesh Koli, Rohal Koli, and two unidentified accomplices. Tragically, she succumbed to her injuries on Monday.

The four individuals have been charged with murder, assault, and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code, as well as under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“We recorded Maru’s complaint on Sunday night and filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Shailesh Koli, his associate Rohal Koli, and their two unidentified associates,” stated Singhal.

In a social media post on X, Congress lawmaker Jignesh Mevani highlighted another instance of Dalit murder and atrocity emerging in Gujarat.

Also Read: WATCH | Four Dalit Men assaulted over theft suspicion in Maharashtra

Mevani explained in Hindi, “During the Covid lockdown, Gautam Maru, a young man from Bhavnagar district, was assaulted by anti-social elements. Subsequently, a police complaint was lodged… As the case progressed to court, the accused, fuelled by fear, began intimidating the complainant for a compromise.

“However, Gautam’s family refused and sought justice through the court. …the accused attacked Gautam’s mother, Gitaben. She was admitted to Bhavnagar Civil Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

“This attack occurred on Constitution Day, shedding light on the heightened audacity of hooligans in the state. It underscores how the courage of such elements has risen, and the Gujarat government, as always, remains a foolish observer to the issues concerning Dalits, the deprived, and the exploited.”

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In response, Maru’s family and local Dalit leaders organised a protest outside Bhavnagar’s Sir Takhtasinhji General Hospital. They insisted on not claiming her body until all four accused were apprehended.

As per the FIR, Maru sustained multiple fractures and injuries. The accused also subjected threats to Maru’s husband and daughter, compelling them to flee.

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