Two adjacent villages were on the brink of a clash in Mathura district, in Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday, hours after the death of a 17-year-old boy, allegedly following an assault by relatives of a girl and neighbours for entering her house around midnight.
The incident took place near Nagla Bhartiya village under Vrindaban police station limits on Monday night. The boy was accompanied by a friend, also a minor, who was beaten up and sustained severe injuries. He is recuperating in a hospital.
According to police, four people have been arrested so far and nearly two dozen Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel and policemen drawn from local stations have been deployed in both villages to stop any violence – the boy and girl’s families belong to neighbouring villages, and come from different locally dominant castes.
According to an Indian Express report, the victim and the girl are friends who live in neighbouring villages. But the girl’s family did not approve of their friendship. While neighbours of the girl’s family say the two boys tried to enter the house discreetly, the victim’s father claimed, “We don’t even know if he entered the house or was picked up from somewhere else.”
The boy and the girl studied in the same school and were friends, but her family did not approve of their closeness, according to police and neighbours. The FIR, lodged on the complaint of the boy’s family, says he and a friend went to meet the girl sometime around 11 pm on Monday.
According to a relative of the girl, while entering the girl’s house, the two teens accidentally awakened the girl’s grandfather, who was sleeping on the verandah. Relatives raised alarm and neighbours gathered and allegedly assaulted them. Both boys were taken to hospital; the victim was declared dead on arrival.
Mathura SSP Gaurav Grover said the police received information that a youth was attacked by a group of villagers when he went to meet a girl. He said senior officers are investigating the incident. Two relatives of the girl and two neighbours have been arrested.
According to the boy’s father, the girl contacted people in their village, seeking help for the boy. But, local residents said, by the time anyone could reach her village, the victim had sustained fatal injuries and it was too late. He suffered heavy blows on his head and neck which led to a lot of bleeding.
Reiterating the incident, the boy’s father said the family had dinner together sometime after 9 pm on Monday, and then his son went out with his friend. “We got frantic calls later, telling us that my son was being beaten up…. They killed him mercilessly. I understand that they knew each other from school, and perhaps that did not go down well with them (girl’s family), but why did they kill him?”
According to a relative of the girl, who was present at the spot, the victim and his friend arrived on a motorcycle and tried to enter the house from a side that overlooks the farms.“It happened within a span of 20-25 minutes,” the relative said to The Indian Express. “Since the school is closed due to the pandemic he tried to meet her at her home, entering without permission. The girl’s mother was in the hospital and her father was not home at the time. The neighbours got angry and the boy fought back…”
The victim had appeared for Class XII Board examinations and often worked on daily wage contract, his family members said. The father of the deceased teen has named seven people from Nagla Bhartiya village who were allegedly involved in the killing of his son, police said.
With the boy’s death, the police believe that there is a possibility of reprisal attacks. While the girl hails from a Thakur family, the boy is a Gurjar. His village is the only Gurjar-dominated one in the area, flanked by four or five villages dominated by people from the Thakur community. According to reports, though residents of both the villages say there is no antagonism between the two castes, the police are apprehensive that the assault could open up the possibility of a backlash.