Bhavnagar police on Sunday claimed that Dalit youth Pradeep Rathod, 21, was not killed by upper caste men for owning and riding a horse, but was hacked to death by a share-cropper from the OBC Koli community as the youth had been harassing his wife. Presenting Munna Thaleisha, 28, from Padana village in Ahmedabad district before media persons, police said the share-cropper has confessed to his crime.
Pradeep’s father, however, said he did not believe the police theory and alleged that the upper-caste men had made the share-cropper a scapegoat. Pradeep, a resident of Timbi village in Bhavnagar district, was found dead near his village on the night of March 29. In his complaint, his father Kalu stated that Natubha Darbar, who belongs to upper-caste Kshatriya community, had warned his son against owning or riding a horse as it was a “privilege” of upper-castes only.
Pradeep’s father Kalu said, “I don’t believe the police theory of my son harassing the share-cropper’s wife and that it led to his murder. We don’t know the sharecropper and his family, so how does the question of harassing her arise? Apparently, this is a conspiracy by the upper-caste men, who are real killers of my son. They have made the share-cropper a scapegoat since he is poor.”
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