In a distressing incident in North Gujarat's Patan, a Dalit man had his thumb chopped off while defending himself against a sword attack by upper-caste individuals. The incident occurred over a minor dispute on Sunday, following an earlier attack on a Dalit youth in Palanpur on May 30.
Triggered by a Child's Innocent Act
The attack on the Dalit family was a result of a confrontation between the victim's eight-year-old son and upper-caste individuals. The child's innocent act of retrieving a tennis ball that had strayed onto a nearby cricket ground led to the dispute.
Jignesh Mevani's Demand for Action
Jignesh Mevani, an influential Dalit leader and Congress MLA, spoke to reporters outside the office of Gujarat's Director-General of Police, stating that he would demand strict action and immediate arrests of all those involved. He further announced that his party would organize a large-scale protest in Patan to condemn the incident.
Mevani warned that if necessary action is not taken, including the arrest of all the accused, a call for a Patan-bandh (shutdown) would be made.
Arrests Made, Others Still at Large
Two of the seven accused individuals have been arrested, while the remaining suspects are currently evading arrest. An FIR has been filed against six named individuals and one unidentified person at the Kakoshi police station, charging them with rioting and causing hurt with dangerous weapons.
Sequence of Events
The incident unfolded when the tennis ball, belonging to Kirtibhai Dahyabhai's eight-year-old son, accidentally landed on the cricket ground where the accused and others were playing. Kuldipsinh Rajput, one of the accused, scolded the boy, leading to an intervention by Kirtibhai's brother, Dhirajkumar.
After the cricket match, one of the seven accused individuals threatened Dhirajkumar, demanding a meeting on the ground. By the time Dhirajkumar, accompanied by Kirtibhai and another relative, arrived at the ground, several Rajput youths had gathered.
The situation appeared to be resolved, and Dhirajkumar returned home, while Kirtibhai went to a nearby tea stall. However, around 6:30 p.m., an hour later, the Rajput youths launched a sword attack on Kirtibhai at the tea stall. In his attempt to defend himself, Kirtibhai's thumb was struck by a sword. He later underwent plastic surgery for his injured thumb at a hospital in Ahmedabad.