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

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canals, work for 13,889 km ha…

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "warmest greetings"…

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are about 180 units in in the to…