A 16-year-old Dalit boy died after being brutally beaten up by the family members of a girl, with whom he was allegedly in a relationship with. The incident happened in a Navi Mumbai village on Tuesday.
The deceased, Swapnil Sonawane, was the son of a SBI clerk and resided in SBI staff colony in Nerul. He had just passed his SSC exams and enrolled in junior college.
According to the police, girl’s elder brother kidnapped Swapnil in an auto on Monday and roughed him up. He then took him to the police station, where the girl’s father was present. There he was warned to stay away from the girl in front of police officials and asked to delete all evidence of their relationship.
When Swapnil came home and informed his parents, they too approached Nerul police station to file a complaint. But, the complaint was not registered. Instead the officers told the family that the boy should distance himself from the girl or meet the same fate as the boy from the Marathi film ‘Sairat’. The film essays the story of an inter-caste couple who are killed in the name of honour by the girl’s family.
On Tuesday, the girl’s brother came to Swapnil’s house and said that if their family came to their house, apologized for their son’s actions and promised never to meet the girl again, they would be forgiven.
When Swapnil and his parents reached the girl’s building around 9:30 pm, they were assaulted by over a dozen people. Swapnil was beaten to a point where he fell unconscious. He was rushed to D.Y Patil hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Swapnil was gravely injured in his private parts, head and chest.
Following the incident, seven people have been arrested in connection with the crime. The 17-year-old girl has also been detained and sent to a children’s home in Bhiwandi.
The arrested persons are Sagar Naik (25), Rajendra Naik (50), Sajesh Naik (21), Malati Naik (43) Ashish Thakur (23) and Durgesh Patil (22). The auto driver Sameer Shaikh, a friend of the girl’s brother, has also been arrested as his auto was used to abduct the boy.
Police have registered a case of murder, kidnapping, rioting and criminal intimidation against the accused and have also applied the Atrocities Act as the boy was a Dalit.
Two sub-inspectors attached to Nerul police station, Yogesh Mane and Sonali Rajguru, have also been suspended for dereliction of duty. Mane was suspended for failing to register a complaint, while Rajguru was suspended for ‘gross misconduct’ for making the ‘Sairat’ reference.
Commissioner Hemant Nagrale has assured that if more cops are found responsible for lapses, then they too will face stern action.
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