A Dalit man died after being allegedly thrashed by a hotel owner belonging to an upper caste community and his accomplice following an argument, during which they also hurled casteist slurs at the victim in Gujarat's Mahisagar district, police said on Saturday.
The victim, Raju Vankar (45), died while undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Vadodara city on Friday night, two days after being thrashed by the hotel owner and his counter manager, an official of Bakor police station said.
Dalit leader and Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani demanded immediate arrest of the accused, whom he called "casteist goons" and warned of a protest.
As per the first information report (FIR), Vankar, an autorickshaw driver, went to the hotel to have dinner on June 7. After the meal, he also asked the hotel staff to pack food for him to carry home.
However, when he raised an objection before the hotel owner regarding the quantity of food packed for him saying that it less than what he paid for, the two accused started arguing with him and hurled casteist abuses at him. They then thrashed him, leaving him badly injured, the police official said.
The victim returned home and told the family members about the incident. Later at night, he started complaining about acute pain in his abdomen. His wife called an ambulance and took him to a hospital at Mahisagar, he said.
He was later shifted to a hospital at Godhra in Panchmahal district, from where he was moved to SSG Hospital at Vadodara. There he underwent an operation, but later succumbed to his injuries, police officials said.
A case was registered against the two accused under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult to provoke someone), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation), and 114 (abettor present when offence committed) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. After his death, the police added section 302 of the IPC pertaining to murder.
MLA Mevani called for a protest over the death of the Dalit man and alleged that the victim died after being beaten up by the "casteist goons" that left his liver damaged.
The family of the victim and members of his community will hold a protest demanding immediate arrest of the perpetrators, the legislator said, adding that the body of the deceased will not be accepted unless the accused duo is held.