India Dalit boy 'killed over high-caste man's name'

Neeraj Kumar who was killed for not changing his name. Photo: Satish Srivastava Neeraj Kumar was found dead in a field

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A low-caste Dalit boy has been killed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for sharing a name with a man of a higher caste, police say.

They said Neeraj Kumar's father Ram Sumer had been asked to change the names of two sons as they were the same as those of Jawahar Chaudhary's sons.

The body of Neeraj, 14, was found on 23 November in a field. Two friends of the Chaudhary family have been arrested.

Mr Chaudhary denies the involvement of his family in the murder.

He says the family is being framed by police.

Dalits, formerly known as "untouchables", are at the bottom of the Hindu caste system in India.

Although caste discrimination is illegal, biases remain in many areas.

Strangled

The latest incident took place in Radhaupur village in Basti district.

Both Ram Sumer and Jawahar Chaudhary have sons named Neeraj and Dheeraj and that has long been an issue between the two families, Sub-inspector Praveen Kumar said.

Mr Chaudhary, who belongs to a higher caste, had given several warnings to Mr Sumer to change the names of his boys.

On 22 November, Neeraj left home after dinner to watch television at a friend's house. His body was found the next day.

Police said he was strangled.

Mr Chaudhary's sons - Neeraj and Dheeraj - are missing, but police have arrested two friends of the family who they say had a role in the murder.

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