Dalit murdered for marrying a woman of the upper caste in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD: Members of a Kshatriya-Rajput family on Monday beat a man with blocks, cut his throat and cut off his head for daring to run away with his daughter. A team of 181 Abhayam and a female police officer accompanying the victim fled during the attack fearing for their own lives. The victim, Haresh Solanki, a 23-year-old youth, had been summoned by his wife's family to talk and sought the help of Abhayam, a women's helpline run by the state government.

A case of honor killing was recorded after the murder in the village of Varmor, Mandal taluka, about 100 kilometers from the city of Ahmedabad.

She is not allowed to contact her husband

Solanki was employed as a driver in a private company and was born in Gandhidham in Kutch. His wife Urmila, 22, has disappeared, a senior police official said. According to the police, Solanki had eloped with Urmila and had married her eight months ago. Urmila is pregnant, said Solanki's mother, Sushila.

After getting married, Urmila lived with Solanki in her father's house for about a month. Then, her father, Dashrathsinh Jhala, negotiated peace and convinced her to return to her home in the village of Varmor, citing her mother's illness. Once home, Jhala confiscated her phone and kept her confined, said P D Manwar, deputy superintendent of police, Ahmedabad district. She was not allowed to contact her husband.

Manwar said Solanki tried desperately to get in touch with Urmila. But their efforts were in vain. His anxiety exploded when he learned that his wife was pregnant. Manwar said that Solanki feared that her in-laws would force Urmila to abort her son, or worse, he would even kill her for marrying a Dalit man. So he asked Abhayam for help.

According to the FIR presented by an advisor to Abhayam, Bhavika Bhagora, Solanki called the helpline at 2.50pm on Monday for help in reaching an agreement with her in-laws. An Abhayam team, including a police officer, a driver, and Bhagora arrived at the Mandal bus stop at 5.43 in the afternoon. Solanki was waiting along with her mother Sushila and a relative, Dhiru Jadhav. Solanki told Abhayam's staff that his father-in-law had called a meeting, Bhagora said in the FIR.

Solanki waited outside Jhalas's house while Abhayam's team counseled them. After 20 minutes, Jhala told Bhagora that she would need a month to deal with the discomfort caused by caste marriage. At that stage, it seemed that the meeting had ended amicably. But just as the team arrived at the vehicle parked some distance from the Jhalas' house, Jhala suddenly started screaming. He abused Solanki and asked how he, a dalit, could dare to marry his daughter, the FIR said. Then he ordered his people to kill Solanki. Responding to the muddy call of Jhala, eight men armed with sticks, swords and other weapons attacked Solanki. Frightened by his life, Bhagora, the policewoman and the driver fled. I saw those men pulling Solanki out of the vehicle, Bhagora said in the FIR. While the men were making rain on Solanki, Urrajeila's brother, Indrajeetsinh, cut his throat while Jhala stabbed him in the head and stomach. Bhagora called the police and a team of police arrived at the crime scene in 15 minutes.

The police have arrested only one member of the family, Harishchandrasinh Jhala, until now.

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