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

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.