Dalit protests claim first victim, huge rally held

Dalit MPs should resign from BJP

Protesting against thrashing of Dalits in Una, several members of the Dalit community also refused to dispose of the dead cattle in several parts of Gujarat demanding that they be provided protection and I-card by the government to prevent harassment from “gau-rakshaks”.

Those who attended the gathering included relatives of Una Dalit victims as well as family members of three youths who allegedly died in the police firing in Thangadh, Surendrangar district four years back. The yatra is expected to be led by former IPS official Rahul Sharma, a Brahmin. “We will break their hands and legs if the upper caste exploiters torture us any more”, he asserted. Muslim bodies Jamiat-e-Ulema-e Hind, among others, extended their support to the rally. “We also want government to make all safai kamdars (sanitation workers) permanent in their posts and pay them as per the 6th Pay Commission”, the Dalit leader said. The incident has angered the Dalit community, following whose protests the police have filed a case. Speakers demanded invocation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the culprits of the July 11 lynching of dalit youth by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes for skinning of dead cows. The Acher ST Depot ground, where the rally was held was packed with an estimated 10,000 people.

Convenor of the newly formed “Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti” (Una Dalit Fight against Atrocities Committee), Jignesh Mewani, announced that a padayatra will be taken out from Ahmedabad on August 5 and will reach Una on August 15. “In the past, I had demanded a CBI inquiry, but the state government refused to accept it. To raise this demand once again, I will sit on an indefinite hunger strike in Gandhinagar from tomorrow”, Rathod said.

They also sought alternate employment to Dalits who give up the “undignified” job of skinning dead animals and safai karmacharis engaged in the “inhuman” job of manual scavenging.

The organisers said they kept the political parties at bay at the rally as all of them exploited them for narrow political gains.

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