Skip to main content

Central Gujarat Dalits targeted for demanding water; houses vandalised, pregnant women not spared

By Our Representative
In a gruesome incident, a mob consisting of dominant caste persons of a Central Gujarat village, Malavada, attacked the Dalit locality over the demand for supply to water, beating up several individuals, not sparing pregnant women, old persons and children, and vandalizing all the 60 households by forcibly entering in each of them. According to social activists visiting the village, the mob, led by the sarpanch (village head) and her family, belonging to the OBC Thakore community, attacked the Dalit locality which was protesting against “refused” to provide regular water supply to the locality.
It all began on October 28, when, after refusal to hear their six-month-long request to supply water to the village head, the Dalit women decided to protest in a unique way – forcing a crack in the pipeline on October 28 to avail water.
If the “protest” helped the Dalit women of 60 households to draw water straight from the pipeline for two days, this angered the Thakores, who decided to take law in their own hands in just two days’ time, October 30. “The dominant caste sarpanch and her husband decided to take law in their own hand, organized a mob, and attacked the Dalit locality”, activists said.
Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust director Manjula Pradeep, who visited the village on November 2, found the entire locality, called “Dhedh vado” by dominant caste persons in contempt, in a state of fear. “Dhed vado” is a derogatory phrase used for Dalits by persons of dominant castes in Gujarat, which means “very dirty, unhealthy, place”; filth, dirt”, to quote from a Gujarati-English dictionary. Mandavia village is situated in Matar taluka of Kheda district, one of the richest in India.
Pradeep said, on her visit to Malavada’s Vankar Vas, as the locality is officially identified, she found that the mob did not spare any of the 60 households. “Around 600 dominant caste people led by the dominant caste sarpanch and her husband took page in the attack. The attack was to create a sense of fear amongst the Dalits who dare to speak out against untouchability practices, discrimination in access to water”, she pointed out.
During the attack, she said, “the dominant castes defiled the well which the Dalits were using to draw water for everyday usage. Innocent Dalits, both old and young, were attacked. Their window panes which were of glass were destroyed. The bicycles, utensils, motorbike, sewing machines, chairs, etc were destroyed. Their property was looted. Some of the Dalit families have fled the village”, Pradeep complained. 
Manula Pradeep listens to Dalits' plea
“Even pregnant and lactating mothers were not spare. An old woman who could not get up from the cot was beaten up. It was a chaos led loose, and I was moved by seeing the tears and pain in the eyes of women, girls, children, men and youth”, she said, even as pointing towards police indifference towards the incident: “The Limbasi police station is just two-and-a-half kilometres away, yet the police came only after one and half hour of the attack.”
“The village head and her husband and the deputy village head along with other accused absconded, though were later arrested, only to be released later”, she said, wondering, “It is a shame that in such a gruesome incident, how can the accused be released?”
Calling it “a challenge” for the Dalits as well as her NGO Navsarjan Trust, the top activist said, We will ensure that bail of the accused is cancelled by the High Court, and the accused village head and deputy village head are suspended from their positions and the Dalits of Malavada village can live with peace.”
Pradeep's visit curiously coincided with new local BJP MLA Kesrisinh Solanki, a Thakore, reportedly "obstructed" Falguni Patel, deputy superintendent of police, SC/ST cell, Kheda, in registering a case against the accused. When Patel was escorting 18 accused for rioting in Malavada, and was taking them to the court in three police vehicles, a vehicle forcibly stopped the convoy near Traj village on Limbasi-Matar road. The accused had to be "set free", said a report in a local Gujarati paper.
"Solanki and his men started asking questions about where the accused were being taken", Patel reportedly said. "I informed them about the court proceedings. After that, he asked us not to pursue the matter further and used derogatory language. The group tried to obstruct the team from performing its duty and even tried to take the accused away. If this is what a woman police officer faced, it is not imaginable how other women are treated by them."

Comments

TRENDING

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

India 'not keen' on legally binding global treaty to reduce plastic production

By Rajiv Shah  Even as offering lip-service to the United Nations Environment Agency (UNEA) for the need to curb plastic production, the Government of India appears reluctant in reducing the production of plastic. A senior participant at the UNEP’s fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4), which took place in Ottawa in April last week, told a plastics pollution seminar that India, along with China and Russia, did not want any legally binding agreement for curbing plastic pollution.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.