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Intra-BJP rivalry? Gujarat Dalit sarpanch hacked to death for "winning" village polls he was told not to contest

By Our Representative
In a gruesome incident, young Dalit sarpanch Jaysukh Madhad, aged 30, belonging to village Varasda of Gujarat's Amreli district of Saurashtra region, was hacked to death on February 28 at around 7.30 pm by three persons, said to be belonging to a so-called upper caste.
According to reports, top representatives of the dominant caste of the village were against his election to the village post, which became the main reason for the attack. The incident has led to a major uproar across Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, particularly Amreli town, where thousands of anxious and angry Dalits gathered expressing their concern over "increasing" atrocities against the community. 
Local media reports suggest the murder is part of an intra-BJP rivalry over the post of sarpanch. Madhad was “associated” with the BJP, says a report, adding, one of the accused too is son of a a BJP village leader.
On hearing the incident, senior district officials and cops rushed to the spot to ensure that law and order situation does not go out of control. Things are said to be particularly tricky, as Gujarat state assembly session is on and opposition may make this a major political issue.
Anxious Dalits outside Civil Hospital, Amreli
According to the police, Madhad was called near the house of one of the accused. The three men hit him with an iron rod and a sharp object. The victim was rushed to Amreli civil hospital, where he died during treatment. An FIR has been lodged at the Amreli taluka police station against the three men, two of whom are brothers.
The three accused were booked under sections 302 (murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common goal) of IPC, and section 3(2)(5) of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The accused belong to the Rajput Kathi Darbar community.
However, local media reports say, Madhad was standing in front of a paan kiosk in the village, where the three came and hit him with rods and knives. The Dalit sarpanch collapsed on the spot. Some Dalits who spotted him rushed him to the Civil Hospital in Amreli, where he died.
While the police claim it is investigating the reason behind the murder, villagers have alleged that Madhad was threatened by the accused not to contest the sarpanch's election, which took place late last year. The seat from where he was elected is reserved for a scheduled caste candidate.
Meanwhile, the family of Madhad has refused to accept his body till the three accused are nabbed. A Dalit social worker and lawyer from Amreli, Navchetan Parmar has begun fast till the accused are caught, even as threatening to commit suicide by consuming poison. 
A large number of Dalits of Amreli district have signed a memorandum addressed to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and the DGP Gujarat to take steps to arrest the culprits. Madhad was the only bread earner of his family, which consists of his physically challenged brother, who is a father of five daughters. Madhad is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son.

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