On Tuesday, a shocking news was reported from a Limbodara village near Gandhinagar where a 17 year old Dalit boy named Digant Maheria was allegedly stabbed by upper caste men for sporting a moustache.
Later the report claimed that the boy was taken to the Gandhinagar civil hospital where several stitches were made on is back. The family members of the boy even claimed that he also been previously attacked but back then, they had refrained from lodging a case.
Such an incident was one of the three which had been reported from the same village in quick succession and as a result had raised concerns about the possible caste clashes in the region.
The police as a result lodged a complaint against the unknown assailants via various provisions like the prevention of atrocities against the SC, ST act. In the complaint, the boy claimed that at about 4:30 PM he was returning home from school after appearing at an exam, when two unknown assailants came up behind him on a bike. They threatened him and later attacked him with a knife.
This resulted in outage on social media and also an attempted protest outside the state secretariat by Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani for demanding the resignation of the Gujarat Home Minister for reportedly having failed to protect the Dalits. A social media campaign involving putting one’s own pictures with mustache was launched too.
Now 3 days after the incident, the Gujarat Police via its probe has concluded that the whole incident was fake and the boy had made up the allegations to generate publicity after being convinced to do so by an influential NGO.
According to local news portal Desh Gujarat, the police probe revealed that:
- There were no signs of blood in the location where the attack was supposed to have taken place
- CCTV footage and clothes were checked and they did not support the version of events recounted by the boy
- A paan shop owner near the given location too claimed that no such incident had occurred there
- Even questioning and checks failed to corroborate the incident
Later as stated in the Desh Gujarat report, while interrogation the boy broke down and confessed to setting up the whole incident. He confessed that he and his two friends brought a sharp shaving blade and he in-turn asked them to attack him with it.
The two friends as well corroborated this version by stating that they caused the injury after being pressurised by the boy. The boy later also confessed that he escalated the issue by talking to the media persons for getting coverage. He claimed he was inspired to do so by some NGO people. According to him, he used to visit and speak with them which inspired him to carry out this stunt.
Now such a revelation raises a couple of questions.
One, what role did the NGO exactly play in motivating the boy. Did it have an ulterior motive of diving the society based on caste lines? Also what action would the police now take against both the boy and the NGO?
Secondly, what is the reason that the state has suddenly seen a spurt of such atrocities, and whether there are other cases as well that could be fabricated. Also is there a deeper conspiracy behind this whole thing after especially considering the fact that state elections are just a few months away?