Dalit burnt alive in Una, family blames BJP MLA

A day after a dalit youth was burnt alive by fellow villagers of another caste at Akolali in Una taluka of Junagadh district over his “love affair”, the family of the deceased on Friday alleged that the attack took place at the behest of a BJP MLA. They claimed that the leader has been eying their land. Lalji Sarviya, 27, was thrashed and locked up in a house in the village before a mob, allegedly by sarpanch Bhana Vaja, set him on fire.

They also allegedly injured Lalji’s father Kala and his brother alleging Lalji, who was married, had an affair with a village girl who went missing three days ago. A complaint of murder, criminal conspiracy and atrocity was registered against 12 persons, police said, adding that 10 suspects, including the sarpanch, have been arrested.

His family alleged that Lalji was not killed over any love affair but it was done in a bid to grab their land. “Lalji has been killed at the behest of a BJP MLA, who has eye on our 17 bigha land, which is near stone mines,” said his father. Junagadh BJP president Madha Boricha, who is also a dalit leader, however, refuted the allegation against his party MLA. “The incident is being given political colour,” said Boricha, who visited the affected family today with some dalit party members.

Police, meanwhile, said the girl in question is still missing. “The girl is missing. Police will also investigate the murder angle and interrogate all,” said Junagadh Superintendent of Police Dipankar Trivedi, adding, “The family has not mentioned name of any politician in the FIR.” Kala said the family was “too disturbed” to register a proper complaint on Thursday, “but after the last rites, we will ask police to include the MLA’s name in the FIR”.