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

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”