Police have arrested six men after a video emerged showing three lower-caste boys being stripped naked and beaten by villagers. The boys were accused of stealing a motorbike.
A video clip published by Indian news channel NDTV showed a group of men hitting the naked teenagers, who were crouching down to save themselves.
Police registered a case against the three teenagers and their attackers after the assault took place in Chittorgarh, in India's western state of Rajasthan, on Saturday.
According to senior police officer Gaj Singh, the boys were from the Kanjar tribe, as were their attackers. The tribe is a marginalized community found in northern and central India. They face intense discrimination from upper-caste Indians and are often forced to live outside towns and villages.
"It isn't an upper-caste-versus-lower-caste case. This is a case of theft and mob fury - both are wrong. We arrested six from the mob today," Singh told reporters.
The head of Rajasthan's child rights commission promised to launch an investigation. "We are forming a committee that will investigate this matter and then appropriate action will be taken after proper evidence is found," Manan Chaturvedi said.
Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi demanded immediate action into the matter:
India banned caste-based discrimination in 1955 but the archaic attitude continues to persist in many parts of the country. Dalits or lower-caste members often have to face severe prejudice in their professional and social lives.
Last month, a man in southern India was killed after he married a woman from a higher caste. Activists described the murder as an "honor killing."
mg/blc (AFP, Reuters)