Four held for ragpicker’s killing in Gujarat

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Rajkot/Gandhinagar, May 21 (IANS) Police on Monday arrested four persons for brutally beating to death a Dalit ragpicker near Rajkot city in Gujarat on suspicion of theft.

The state Government promptly announced a financial compensation of Rs 8.25 lakh for the family of the deceased person.

Mukesh Vaniya, 40, was tied and brutally thrashed by factory owner and workers of Radadiya Industries in Shapar-Veraval area of Rajkot district and died on late Sunday evening. He was accused of trying to steal from the factory, police officer Shruti Mehta said.

The entire incident was captured on CCTV and the footage later went viral on social media, with Vadgam MLA and Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani tweeting the news with hashtag Gujarat is not safe for Dalits.

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The incident took place when Vaniya and his wife Champaben, who are ragpickers, were engaged in their usual work near Radadia Industries.

Factory owner Jaysukh Radadia suspected that Mukesh was trying to steal from his factory. He and his workers soon caught Mukesh and his wife and began beating them with sticks, one after the other.

They allowed Champaben to go after some thrashing but continued hitting Vaniya. He was left in pain at the place. Soon Champaben returned with some men and took Vaniya to the Rajkot Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

She lodged an FIR against the factory owner and workers. Jaysukh Radadia and his associates Chirag Vora, Divyesh Vora and Tejas Zala were arrested, Superintendent of Police Shruti Mehta said.

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Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters on Monday evening: “According to the FIR against the accused, section 302 for murder and 308 for culpable homicide and various sections of the Atrocities Act have been invoked.”

He said” “The family had demanded a financial package, a five acre plot, a free house, public shaming of the accused and monthly payment of Rs 10,000 to the family. The state government on its part announced sanction of Rs 8.25 lakh under the Atrocities Act.

“For now, we have provided over half of the Rs 8.25 lakh and the rest would be paid after the chargesheet is filed in the case and Rs 500 for groceries and provisions to each of the four persons in the family for three months,” Gujarat Social Justice minister Ishwar Parmar said in an official statement.

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Shruti Mehta said the police had also detained a fifth person, a juvenile, and were currently interrogating him but refused to reveal his identity till his involvement was proved.

–IANS

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