By Vineet Khare; BBC Hindi, Uttarakhand
A helpless anger pervades the Dalit community in the remote Indian village of Kot.
Last month, a group of upper-caste men allegedly beat up a 21-year-old Dalit resident, named Jitendra, so badly that he died nine days later.
His alleged crime: he sat on a chair and ate in their presence at a wedding.
Not even one of the hundreds of guests who attended the wedding celebration – also of a young Dalit man – will go on record to describe what happened to Jitendra on 26 April.
Afraid of a backlash, they will only admit to being at a large ground where the wedding feast was being held.
Only the police have publicly said what happened.
The wedding food had been cooked by upper-caste residents because many people in remote regions don’t touch any food prepared by Dalits, who are the bottom of the rigid Hindu caste hierarchy.
“The scuffle happened when food was being served. The controversy erupted over who was sitting on the chair,” police officer Ashok Kumar said.
The incident has been registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act) – a law meant to protect historically oppressed communities.