India Dalit man killed 'for watching Hindu celebration'

Jayesh Solanki
Image caption Jayesh Solanki was killed allegedly for watching a dance performance

A Dalit (formerly untouchable) man was beaten to death in the western Indian state of Gujarat allegedly for watching people dance as they celebrated the Hindu festival of Dussehra.

Eight men have been arrested for attacking the 21-year-old on Sunday, police told BBC Gujarati.

Some Dalits were beaten up for sporting moustaches in the state last week.

Despite laws to protect them, discrimination remains a daily reality for India's 200 million Dalits.

The victim, identified as Jayesh Solanki was watching a performance of Garba, a traditional dance, with his cousins, when a man approached them, according to the police complaint lodged by Mr Solanki's cousin, Prakash.

"He told us how dare you come here," Mr Solanki alleged in the complaint. "We told him that we came to watch the Garba because our sisters and daughters were participating. But he started abusing us."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Violence against Dalits has sparked several protests in India over the last few years

The complaint goes on to say the man left and returned with seven others, one of whom slapped Prakash. When Mr Solanki tried to intervene, he was dragged away and beaten.

The men allegedly flung him against a wall causing him to lose consciousness. But they continued to beat him, according to the complainant.

Mr Solanki was taken to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police said they have also provided security to Mr Solanki's family who fear they might be attacked by upper caste men for pursing a case against the accused.

Dalits have traditionally been at the bottom of the Hindu caste system. They have been subjugated by the higher castes for centuries.

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