AHMEDABAD: The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Gujarat government over an incident in which a Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death in a factory compound near Rajkot district‘s Shapar town.

The NHRC, in a statement, said that it had issued notice to the state’s chief secretary and had called for a report on the matter within four weeks, along with measures taken to provide relief to the affected family.

A Dalit ragpicker, Mukesh Vaniya (35), was allegedly beaten to death, and his wife assaulted, on May 20 by five people in the factory compound, including the factory owner.

They suspected that Vaniya and his wife were stealing scrap.

A video of the incident — purportedly showing two people taking turns to beat Vaniya with a stick while another person holding him by a rope tied to his waist — had gone viral on social media.

The police arrested the five people based on the video, a police official had 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.

A delegation of Congress leaders, including state unit president Amit Chavda, state in-charge Rajiv Satav and its Scheduled Caste Cell convener Ravindra Dalvi, met Vaniya’s family at their native Parnara village in Surendranagar district and presented Vaniya’s wife a cheque of Rs 1 lakh.

Talking to the media, Chavda and Satav alleged that the BJP government in Gujarat had failed to stem the atrocities being committed on the Dalit community.

“The number of cases have seen a steady increase. The government, instead, is shielding the perpetrators,” they alleged.

“Dalits are not feeling safe in the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. The government makes false promises in the wake of such incidents but no leader from the ruling party meets families of the victims,” they said.

The opposition party demanded that the state government provide the deceased’s wife 5 acres of cultivable land, a house, as well as make arrangement for the treatment of a disease related to the liver she is suffering from.

Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani said the incident was more “dangerous” than the Una incident in which seven Dalits were flogged by a group of cow vigilantes in July 2016.

“I strongly condemn the incident in which a Dalit man was cruelly beaten to death. In my view, this incident is much more dangerous than the Una incident. While in Una, the victims were beaten and abused, here a man was killed,” he said.