Skip to main content

Act against cow vigilantes and we will start lifting dead cattle: Dalit community leaders tell new Gujarat CM

A vehicle used to transport dead cattle
By Our Representative
Is the attempt to take pledge from rural Dalits belonging to the Rohit (chamar) community to give up the caste-based occupation of "scavenging" cattle carcasses during the 350-kilometre-long protest padyatra or foot march from Ahmedabad to Una, which began on August 5, facing a major hurdle in the form of economic compulsion?
It would seem to, if the latest representation to new chief minister Vijay Rupani by community leaders involved in tanning is any indication. Most of the tanners are poor, and have no other means of livelihood but to "scavenge" dead cattle and skin it in extremely unhygienic conditions.   
The padyatra is led by Jignesh Mevani, an Ahmedabad-based human rights lawyer-turned-politician, to protest against the age-old practice against the backdrop of cow vigilantes bashing up four Dalit boys in Una in Saurashtra region of Gujarat after tying them up SUV on July 11. The boys were skinning dead cattle in a village not very far from Una town. The padyatra ends on August 15, Independence Day, at Una.
Though attached with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the padyatra he leads is “totally apolitical”, Mevani reportedly claims, even as insisting, he has "political ambitions." Most of the padyatri leaders belong to Ahmedabad.
In a surprise move, meanwhile, community leaders from Surendranagar district have told chief minister Rupani in a representation that they would not pick up carcasses only till the state government takes steps to stop “atrocities” by cow vigilantes, who “harass them” on way to the spots where they to the skinning job.
Led by Natubhai Parmar, a social worker from the Rohit community and attached with Dalits rights NGO Navsarjan Trust, and accompanied by six others, all belonging to Surendranagar district, the representation said that cow vigilantes, in alliance with cops, “harass them in order to extort money” as they transport dead cattle, its carrion, bones and skin.
A poor woman doing the skinning job in the open
“These vigilantes demand identity card to prove that we are tanners”, the representation said, adding, “As we do not have any of it, they accuse us of cow slaughter cows and extort money.” Pointing out that they would not pick up cattle till this harassment stops, the representation demanded a number of steps to turn them into professional tanners.
The demand comes close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to state governments to take steps against cow vigilantes, “80 per cent of whom are anti-social elements”, he said. Modi was forced to make the statement following nation-wide outrage against the July 11 Una incident.
Far from insisting that they would shed the occupation, the community leaders insisted, the Rohits who are in the job should be allocated plots of land where they could legally do the work of skinning dead cattle. “The plots should be fenced with concrete wall”, it said, adding, “The plots should be provided with necessary infrastructure, including water and power.”
“To transport the dead cattle, we should be given monetary help for buying up vehicles”, the representation said, adding, “These vehicles should be equipped with the necessary equipment to lift dead cattle. And they should be made available tax free.”
Wanting that the Leather Industries Board, which was disbanded in late 1990s, “revived” to help the tanners with “modern technology for continuing with the job in a more scientific way”, the representation said, “Those wish to leave the job should be properly rehabilitated. Agricultural land could be given to those wanting to take up farming.”
“If big industrialists are given huge subsidies, why can't we tanners be helped? We want that tanning be given the status of leather industry”, it said, adding, “We also think we are more capable of managing the state-owned panjrapols (cattle farms) where cows are kept. We should be preferred for the job.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

PepsiCo warned: Withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers or face dire consequences

By Our Representative
About 200 farmers’ leaders and activists, in a letter to Dr KV Prabhu, chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), and Dr R C Agrawal, registrar general, PPVFRA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, have demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all the legal suits it has slapped on many potato farmers in different districts of Gujarat.

During Emergency, the ruler was extolled but Opposition wasn't punched around: Scribe

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released book, “India: The Wrong Transition”, by a top Delhi-based scribe Anand K Sahay, has quoted “journalistic circles” to say that the Indian mainstream media – with certain “honourable exceptions” – has virtually abandoned the “practice of journalism”, and  this happened following a “sting operation” that showed that “the crème de la crème of Indian journalism were only too willing, for a suitable price, to let poisonous Hindutva propaganda prevail in their news columns.”

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".