A 22-year-old Dalit man visiting a local fair was killed in what appears to be a caste-based crime. Avaneesh was at the Bhootnath Mela in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district on Tuesday when the incident took place. According to reports, he was at a watch shop there when he allegedly pocketed three watches.
The shopkeeper, Pushpendra Singh, raised an alarm, following which he and three others asked Avaneesh what his caste was, and beat him with a stick after he told them he was Dalit. Avaneesh later died from his injuries and was declared ‘brought dead’ at the local hospital.
A 14-year-old boy, Prasoon, who was with Avaneesh when the incident took place reportedly told police that Avaneesh had told the shopkeeper he would pay for the watches but he was still beaten up.
Two of the accused, including the Singh and a fellow shopkeeper Sanjeev Verma, have been arrested for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Another two men are on the run. A Zee News report suggested that Avaneesh had also been paraded naked but there is no confirmation of this.