Thangadh town in Surendranagar, Gujarat returned to the spotlight after a 32-year-old Dalit man was hacked to death by three upper caste men on Wednesday evening, 12 June.
Prakash Parmar died after he was attacked by a scythe while his uncle, Suresh Parmar (30) was shot at thrice; Suresh survived his injuries and was admitted to Rajkot Civil Hospital, but Prakash was not so lucky.
In September 2012, three men from the Dalit community were killed in police firing in Thangadh town. The incident led to a huge uproar across the state and an inquiry committee was set up to probe the incident. The probe held by IAS officer Sanjay Prasad has concluded but the state government never released its findings to the public.
The Dalit community came out on the streets of Thangadh on Thursday, 13 June in support of Prakash Parmar’s kin, who said that they will not conduct the final rites till the guilty are arrested and the family is compensated. The district’s Mamlatdar has assured the victim’s kin that they have a right to compensation as per the stipulated rules.
The cops have so far arrested two men, Naresh Dhandhal and Devraj Jalu, and are on the look out of the third accused. On receiving assurances from the Mamlatdar, Prakash Parmar’s family collected his body to perform the final rites.
The Accused was Jailed by Victim’s Uncle
The Quint spoke with Shailesh Makwana, who works for Navsarjan Trust – an NGO based in Gujarat that works for the empowerment of the Dalit community and also provides legal assistance for atrocity cases.
According to Shailesh, the main accused Naresh had a beef with the deceased Prakash Parmar’s uncle Babulal Parmar. Babulal had filed an atrocity case against Naresh which led to his arrest; Naresh was released on bail a few days ago and he came in search of Babulal to put pressure on him to withdraw the case.
“Naresh and a few members from the Darbar community came looking for Babulal at 9.30 pm on Wednesday night. The men saw Prakash and approached him asking about his uncle’s whereabouts. Prakash realised who Naresh was and what he was seeking, but he refused to divulge his uncle’s location. This led to an altercation which got violent and Naresh hacked Prakash with a scythe.”
Shailesh Parmar, Navsarjan Trust
According to Shailesh, Prakash’s uncle Suresh Parmar came to his aid, and he was shot thrice by Naresh, with one bullet hitting him below the shoulder. The men immediately fled the scene after incident.
Prakash’s wife Dayaben Parmar wrote to the Collector and magistrate of Surrendranagar demanding an immediate arrest of the accused men; she also demanded that the government should bear the cost of Suresh Parmar’s treatment, and that he should be moved to a private hospital in Ahmedabad.
2012 Thangadh Police Firing Incident
On 22 and 23 September, 2012, three youths from the Dalit community in Thangadh – Mehul Rathod (16), Pankaj Sumra (17) and Prakash Parmar (26) – were killed in police firing. The police fired after members of the upper caste Bharwad community and the Dalit community had a violent clash.
A report was submitted by Sanjay Prasad, the then principal secretary of the Social Justice and Development Department, in May 2013. However, the state government refused to make the report public, citing that the findings of the report will incite hatred among various communities.
Eventually in August 2016, in the aftermath of the Una Dailt flogging incident, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the deaths of the three Dalit youths in Thangad. However, the report has not been submitted to the government.
(The Quint is now available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)