Published: Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012, 14:51 IST
By Roxy Gagdekar | Place: Ahmedabad

In an incident of police atrocity, a dalit man was thrashed and allegedly paraded half-naked by the police at Ved village in Kautambha taluka of Panchmahals district on Sunday. When the dalits of the village protested, the police assaulted them in a lathicharge.

As if this was not enough, the police took the half-naked dalit to Koutambha police station and registered a case against him for obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his duties. However, the police allegedly did not allow him to wear any new clothes for the whole night.

According to eyewitness accounts, the victim, Raman Vankar (38), was brought to the center of Ved village at around 1 pm on Sunday. Here the police allegedly stripped him of all his clothes leaving him with nothing but his underwear. He was taken to the police station at around 3 pm.

Kanti Vankar, a dalit man who lives in Ved village, told DNA that he was allowed to give some clothes to Raman at the police station only on Monday morning.

Further, despite the efforts of relatives and dalit leaders, the police have not registered Raman’s complaint in the matter. The dalits have accused a retired police inspector, GP Joshi, and a head constable, Dharmendrasinh Somsinh (buckle number:1845) of stripping Raman and beating him up.

Kanti Vankar said that after Raman was taken from the village, he was kept in police lock-up from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning only in his underwear.

“I gave him his clothes on Monday morning,” Kanti told DNA. He said that Raman was picked up from Vankarvaas which is located on the outskirts of Ved village and then taken to the center of the village where he was stripped by the police and assaulted.

“The police took off his shirt and pants and beat him up in front of the whole village. No one was allowed even to go near police officials,” Kanti said.

Bharat Ghoi (40), a resident of Ved village who was an eyewitness of the incident, said that everything had happened in front of his eyes.

“Raman was brought to the centre of the village, his clothes were taken off and he was beaten up. He was then taken to the police station in the same condition,” said Ghoi, who is a labourer.

Raman was assaulted by a group of policemen who had come from the Koutambha police station.

The conflict between the dalits and the police started on Sunday morning after Joshi allegedly used abusive language against Scheduled Castes and hit one Arvind Vankar, a dalit, on the head with an iron rod for releasing drainage water on the road. When Arvind protested, he was beaten up by Joshi who also called the police, including Dharmendrasinh.

Joshi commutes through the village to his farmhouse in his car every morning. Manu Rohit, a community leader and an office-bearer of Navsarjan, told DNA that Arvind was beaten up later too.

“As a result, the dalits got angry and collected in the village only to be assaulted by the police in a lathicharge. The police nabbed three dalits — Raman, Narendra and Rama Vankar,” Rohit said. Navsarjan is an NGO which works for dalit welfare.