A 13-year-old Dalit boy was allegedly beaten up by four Rajput men for wearing a 'mojdi', a type of ethnic leather shoes, police said on Thursday.
The incident, which came to light after a video of it was shared on social media, occurred yesterday in Bahucharaji town of Gujarat's Mehsana district.
Based on the minor's complaint today, an FIR was registered against the four men, said Bahucharaji police Sub Inspector R R Solanki.
"It is alleged that these four Rajput youth, including one Bharatsinh Darbar, thrashed the victim for wearing a mojdi. We have booked them on charges of kidnapping, assault as well as under relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act," Mr Solanki informed.
In his complaint, the minor boy, a resident of Vitthalapur village of Ahmedabad district, stated that the incident happened in Bahucharaji town yesterday.
"When I was sitting near the bus stop, a group of youths came to me and asked me my caste. When I said that I am a Dalit, they asked me why I was wearing mojdi despite being a Dalit. When I tried to save myself by claiming that I am a Rajput, they forcibly took me to a place and thrashed me," his complaint stated.
"They slapped and punched me and beat me with a stick. They accused me of trying to be a Rajput by wearing such shoes. I somehow managed to escape and came home," the complaint added.
In the video, which was allegedly shot and circulated by one of the accused, the Dalit boy can be seen sobbing and pleading for mercy.
While beating him, two of the accused can be heard in the video saying that one cannot become a Rajput by donning such footwear. The person who was shooting the video can be heard saying that he will send this video to Vitthalapur, the minor's place of residence, apparently to give a message to others.
While begging for mercy, the victim can be heard saying that he is a Dalit and will never try to be a Rajput.
This is the latest incident involving upper caste men allegedly attacking Dalits and OBCs for trivial reasons.
Last month, a group of Rajputs clashed with Dalits in Dholka town in Ahmedabad district over a Dalit man's decision to add the suffix 'Sinh' to his name.