Skip to main content

Attack on Gujarat Dalits resumes after Una rally, called to "oppose" cow vigilantes who flogged four youths

An injured undergoing treatment in Rajula
By Our Representative
An atmosphere of unprecedented tension and fear prevails among the local Dalits, who participated in a major protest rally organized by the Ahmedabad-based Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti under the leadership of Jignesh Mevani. Those who had come to participate in the rally were violently attacked about 12 kilometres from Una, where the rally took place on August 15.
Despite massive police force deployed to guard the rally, people returning from Una were randomly attacked, especially near Santej village, situated about 12 kilometres from Una. The dominant caste people blocked the highway, attacking vehicles carrying Dalit protesters. During the attack, several persons were injured, two of them seriously. They were hospitalized for treatment in two towns, Rajula and Mahua.
At least two cars were said to have been torched torched and several others attacked near Santej, where a curfew remains in force. It is the same village from where the culprits who flogged the four Dalit youths, belonging to the Rohit (chamar) sub-caste in Una on July 11, come.
The rally in Una was held to protest the flogging by cow vigilantes suspecting the Dalit youths were involved in cow slaughter. Belonging to Mota Samadhiyala village, the Dalit boys were manually skinning dead cattle, a hierarchical caste occupation. The flogging incident went viral on social media, creating a huge uproar across the country.
The four Dalit boys who were attacked in Una
The attack on Dalits in the aftermath of the rally in Una forced many them to return back to the town to seek police protection. “At least four FIRs of attacks were filed. There were reports that tyres were lying burnt all over the national highway leading to Rajula and Mahuva. One of the cars carrying Dalits was fired upon”, said Mujahid Nafis, an activist, who was present at the police station.
The main leaders of the rally, particularly Mevani and his young colleague Pratik Sinha, had already left Una to by car when the news about the attack started pouring in. In a Facebook post, Mevani said, there was all round attack on Dalits, that police had failed to do its job, and that "everybody should maintain peace."
In a state of terror, the Dalit participants, amidst misgivings about absence of their leaders, wanted that the police arrest those involved in stone pelting – which had begun two days ahead of the rally – and they should be immediately provided with police protection, so that they could return home.
A Mevani supporter, Dr Jayesh Chavda, said on Facebook that Dalits should stop criticizing rally leaders for having deserted them. "We were very much there at Una police station trying to create all the police arrangements for those waiting to go back. Those saying that leaders had deserted them are doing disservice to the cause."
Gandhian activist, Nita Mahadev, who had gone to Una for attending the rally, said, the car in which she and other colleagues traveled was stopped, and after a few queries, was allowed to leave. "However, I suspect, the car which came immediately thereafter must have been attacked", she added.
Among those whose car was attacked included members of the Dalit family, four of whose boys were flogged in Una on July 11. The car in which they were traveling to their village, Mota Samadhiaya, was stopped in between, but the driver reversed it before it could be violently attacked.
Cops entering the bus to escort the Dalit family, others
Head of the family, Balubai Sarvaiya and others, who felt threatened, sought police protection to escort them back to their villages after violence broke out on the highway. Fearing attack on their house, they also insisted, they should be provided with permanent police post.
However, the police did not take any decision till orders came from the top to help them out late in the evening at around 7 pm. “The family members were supported by at least 500 others, seeking police protection to the Savraiya family”, Nafis said, adding, “Finally, under pressure, the police acted. The family was given protection and were sent back in a bus along with a few other Dalits.”
Meanwhile, some men and women belonging to the dominant Darbar community, involved in the arson, were arrested and locked up in the Una police station. “It is difficult to say how long will the cops, which seemed reluctant provide protection, would aid the victims. They are living in a state of fear and are uncertain about their future”, Nafis said. 

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.