Police: Dalit man killed by in-laws after he sought protection

Days after he married an upper caste woman against her family’s wishes and sought police security, a Dalit man was beaten to death, allegedly by his in-laws, near Bhikiasain in Almora district of Utttarakhand Thursday.

Police said the body of Jagdish Chandra — a member of the Uttarakhand Parivartan Party, he had unsuccessfully contested from the Salt constituency in the 2022 state elections — was found in a car Thursday evening, and that his in-laws had been trying to dispose of the body.

Police have arrested the mother, stepfather and stepbrother of the woman Jagdish Chandra had married. His body was sent to Almora for a post-mortem examination.

Almora SSP Pradeep Kumar Rai said, “The man identified as Jagdish Chandra married Geeta Singh aka Guddi (both in their mid-20s) at a temple on August 21. Guddi’s parents separated several years ago and she had been living with her mother Bhavna, stepfather Joga Singh and stepbrother Govind. After her marriage last month, the couple went to Almora. On Thursday, Jagdish went to Bhikiasain for some personal work.”

“It appears that the man was brutally beaten up with a blunt object. We have arrested all three accused. We are interrogating them. The murder weapon is yet to be recovered,” he said.

DIG (Kumaon range) Nilesh Anand Bharney said that Joga, Govind and Bhavna abducted Jagdish, put him in a car and beat him up.

“We were informed about the abduction around 4 pm and we started a search operation. We nabbed the accused around 8-10 km from Bhikiasain at 6 pm when they were trying to dispose of Jagdish’s body,” Bharney said.

Police said Guddi’s family was opposed to her marriage with a Dalit man.

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On August 27, the couple had written a letter to the Almora SSP, seeking security, saying there was a threat to their lives.

While no permanent security cover was provided to the couple, Bharney said police had the “matter in knowledge”.

“We were informed and we provided them security in Almora. On Thursday, Jagdish left without informing police. We cannot say that we were constantly monitoring or had given them 24 hours protection, but we were aware of the threat and there was police watch,” he said.

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