Maharashtra Dalit youth murdered for ‘stalking’ upper caste girl, six arrested

A Dalit youth was allegedly killed by an upper caste family members in Pune as they didn’t like his interest in a girl of their family.

Maharashtra police have arrested six persons for murder of a 20-year-old youth Viraj Vilas Jagtap, who had fallen in love with a girl from upper caste, according to an FIR registered by deceased’s uncle Jitesh Vasant Jagtap, a resident of Jagtap nagar area of Pimple Saudagar in Pune.

Police inspector Mohan Shinde said that four of the six accused– Hemant Kailas Kate, Sagar Jagdish Kate and two minors–were tracked and arrested by a crime branch unit of Pimpri Chinchwad police. The other two arrested in the case are Kailas Murlidhar Kate and Jagdish Murlidhar Kate, said police.

The Jagtaps are dalit, while the Kate family belongs to the upper caste Maratha community. According to the FIR, the accused hurled racial abuse at Viraj before bludgeoning him to death.

Viraj was found lying at the spot in blood-soaked trousers. He had received injuries on his head and elsewhere on his body, says the complaint filed by his uncle. Jitesh Jagtap told police that Viraj was able to give an account of the assault before he died.

According to the FIR, the six members of the Kate family had driven their mini tempo into Viraj’s two-wheeler and attacked him with rods and stones as he fell down. An injured Viraj reportedly told his uncle that he started running when the six charged at him before he fell down. Kailas and Jagdish Kate along with the two minors pinned him down while Sagar and Hemant assaulted him with metal rod and stones, it alleges. Jagdish Kate allegedly also hurled casteist remarks at him for daring to pursue his daughter and even spat on him, the complaint says.

Viraj was later rushed to Aditya Birla hospital where he was declared dead on Monday morning.

The accused have alleged that the deceased was stalking a girl from the Kate family despite being warned and a history of enmity between the two families.

Assistant police inspector Ambrish Deshmukh of unit 4 crime branch that led the team that arrested four members of the Kate family threw light on the version of the accused.

“They said they had warned him against standing outside their house and stalking the girl. On Sunday night, Sagar Kate’s tanker got punctured near their house. Sagar says Viraj arrived at the spot under the influence of alcohol and started abusing him. Their fight turned violent, which is when two other family members arrived in a tempo and dashed Viraj’s two-wheeler and joined the fight. This is the accused men’s version,” said Deshmukh.

A case of murder, criminal conspiracy has been registered at Sangvi police station with sections of prevention of atrocities against scheduled caste and scheduled tribe act and Maharashtra Police Act also invoked. Police inspector Ajay Bhosale is investigating the case.

“We are now looking at the call records to confirm details. The girl’s version of the story will also be recorded. What the accused say has no meaning at this point in the investigation,” said Bhosale.

Source: Hindustan Times

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