Parts of Saurashtra region in Gujarat are reeling with strong protest against last week’s incident of flogging and public assault of Dalit youth by the men claiming to be members of a vigilante group in Una. The self-styled group had alleged the four victims of killing a cow, while the latter contended that they were only skinning a dead cow and had not killed it.
The incident has now assumed serious proportions attracting widespread condemnation. The issue was aggressively taken up Mayawati and her BSP on the first day of Parliament’s Monsoon session on Monday.
Protesting against the incident, Dalit community youths attempted suicide at two places in Rajkot, while two state transport buses were burnt in Rajkot and another one in Jamnagar. There were also reports of protestors blocking national highway connecting Rajkot and Porbandar.
At Gondal, five Dalit youth — Rajesh Parmar, Ramesh Pardhi, Jagdish Rathod, Bharat Solanki and Anil Maghad — tried to end their lives by drinking poison near Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue in market area of the town. At Jamkandorna in the district, Kishor Solanki (30) and Amrit Parmar (25), tried to commit suicide.
According to the authorities, all seven are now being treated at a hospital in Gondal.
In Surendranagar, some 300 Dalits today carried a dead cow and held protest outside the office of the Collector. They gave a memorandum to the collector demanding action against the culprits in the Una case.
Meanwhile, nine persons have been arrested in this case so far, while three policemen have been suspended for dereliction of duty. Sensing the gravity of issue, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Monday ordered a CID probe into the incident as well as announced to set up a special court for speedy trial of the case.
“The probe into the Una Dalits thrashing case has been handed over to CID (Crime). Also a special designated court will be set up for speedy trial of the case,” an official statement listing the orders given by the Chief Minister said.
The matter echoed in Parliament as well with Rajya Sabha witnessing a brief adjournment on the opening day of Monsoon session on Monday.
Accusing the ruling BJP of being ‘anti-dalit’, BSP supremo Mayawati said the state police swung into action only after the incident was highlighted by the media. She also accused the state police of not taking immediate action.