The Dalit from Bhavnagar was not killed by upper-caste men for owning or riding a horse. He was killed for allegedly harassing the share-croppers wife, the police have said. The victim's father however rejected this theory and alleged that the upper caste men had made the share-cropper a scapegoat to cover up the crime.
Superintendent of police of Bhavnagar, Pravin Mal told the media that Pradeep Rathod, the Dalit youth was not killed by upper-caste men due caste-prejudice but was murdered by a man whose wife had complained that Rathod had been harassing her and was demanding sexual favours.
The share-cropper was identified as Munna Thaleisha, a native of Padana village in Dhandhuka taluka of Ahmedabad district. Bhavnagar police picked up Thaleisha and his family-members from Padan village on Saturday. Thaleisha was formally arrested by Bhavnagar police on Sunday, an Indian Express report stated.
The SP said that 28-year-old Thaleisha had been cultivating agricultural land of one Bhotha Lathiya in Piparali, a village neighbouring Timbi for the last two years. "However, Pradeep started harassing Thaleisha's wife around two months before the incident. The woman even complained to her husband about the harassment and suggested that they should approach police. However, the husband turned it down telling her they were poor and therefore they should rather focus on eking out a living by working as share-croppers," the report while citing the SP said.