A 21-year-old Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death by a group of men belonging to the upper caste Patel community for attending a garba event in Gujarat's Anand district in the early hours on Sunday, police said. The incident took place around 4 am.
Jayesh Solanki, cousin Prakash Solanki and two other Dalit men were sitting near a house adjacent to a temple in Bhadrania village when a person made "derogatory remarks about their caste", police said quoting a complaint filed in connection with the incident.
The accused said Dalits "do not have any right to watch garba. He made casteist remarks and asked some men to come to the spot", an officer at the Bhadran police station said.
The upper caste men allegedly thrashed the Dalits and banged Jayesh's head against a wall, the officer said.
Jayesh was rushed to a hospital in Karamsad, where doctors declared him brought dead in the morning.
"We have registered an FIR under IPC sections related to murder and the Prevention of Atrocities Act against eight men," the official said. Deputy SP (SC/ST cell) A M Patel said it did not appear to be a pre-planned attack.
"Jayesh was killed in the heat of the moment, as there was no rivalry between him and the accused. We are probing the case from all angles. The accused will be arrested soon," the officer said.
Recently, two Dalit men of a village near Gandhinagar were allegedly thrashed by members of the Rajput community for "sporting a moustache" in separate incidents, on September 25 and 29.
The state had witnessed massive protests in July last year over the brutal thrashing of four Dalit men at a village in Una town.