A 23-year-old Dalit (Schedule Caste) man was killed by a group of upper-caste men, after the victim allegedly ate in front of them at a wedding celebration in the northern state of Uttarakhand, the Times of India reported.
“It was our cousin’s marriage. My brother made the mistake of taking food from the same counter from were upper-caste people were eating. He then sat on a chair next to them”, Pooja Das, the victim’s sister remembers, adding that “this infuriated them…they said this lower caste person cannot sit and eat along with us. If he does, he will be beaten up.”
The incident took place on April 26 at in Shrikot village of the district. According to accounts from the community, Jitendra Das, the victim, was humiliated during the wedding reception and left the event in tears, afterward was ambushed and beaten by the group of men.
Jitendra’s mother, Geeta Devi, found him injured outside their home the next morning. “He had been perhaps lying there the entire night,” she told the BBC. After nine days in the Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital, Jitendra succumbed to his injuries.
“My brother was the sole-earning member of our family. What will we do now? The accused are threatening us to withdraw the case,” the sister cried. Jitendra was a carpenter, that followed his late father’s trade.
The murder has been registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act (Prevention of Atrocities), a 1989 law meant to protect historically oppressed communities and ethnicities.
Yet Sandeep Khanna, a friend of the family said that the police have taken a lot of time to file the case and no arrest has been made so far even though the accused had been booked under the SC/ST Act.