Acting predictably, the Gujarat Police have indulged in victim shaming and character assassination by dismissing allegations that a Dalit youth in Bhavnagar was killed by upper caste men because he owned and rode a horse.
It is not unusual for police in Gujarat to shame the victims of atrocities, especially if they belong to lower caste or are women violated by politically influential people who cannot be booked.
During last year’s sex scandal that rocked Naliya in Kutch too, in which BJP leaders of the district were accused, the police had shamed the survivor woman by raising questions about her character and did nothing to book the people who issued full page advertisements questioning her conduct.
In 2012 too, when suicides by farmers were at its peak, the police were under pressure from the top to underplay these deaths and attribute them to various other reasons like family disputes, mental illness and ‘unknown’ causes but certainly not due to agrarian distress.
Following this familiar narrative, Bhavnagar’s District Superintendent of Police Pravin Mal told the press that Pradip Rathore, who had been hacked to death in Timbi village of Umrala taluka, used to harass local girls, which is certainly an offence not inviting death penalty nor one to be executed by local goons.
The district police chief also said that the villagers were angry with the 21-year-old Dalit as he used to perform stunts with his horse and motorcycle in front of girls.
“We have come across a lot of complaints about objectionable behaviour of the boy from various quarters and perhaps some persons may have killed him for that”, the Bhavnagar district SP said.
The district police chief’s version of the killing indicate that the cops are not inclined to take cognisance of Pradip’s father Kalubhai’s complaint that his mutilated body was found after upper caste people had threatened him with dire consequences if he continued to ride his horse.
About the three upper caste people named in the FIR, the police chief said that they were detained only for questioning. The body of Rathore, 21, was recovered with multiple injuries and a fractured skull from a bush near