The Dalit sarpanch of Nagadka village of Gondal taluka in Rajkot has filed a police complaint, alleging that the husband of the deputy sarpanch prevented him from unfurling the national flag on Independence Day.
Based on the complaint filed by sarpanch Premji Jogal on Wednesday night, Gondal police have booked accused Rajesh Sakhiya for criminal intimidation and also under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
In the complaint, Jogal stated that the incident took place minutes before the Independence Day event at the village primary school. “Sakhiya told me that I can’t unfurl the Tricolour as I was a Dalit. He told me that the Tricolour would get defiled if I hoisted it,” the sarpanch stated in the complaint.
After allegedly being prevented from hoisting the flag, the sarpanch claimed he was asked to sit on a chair on the dais, and that Sakhiya — who belongs to the Patidar community — invited two teenage girls from Dalit and Patidar communities to unfurl the Tricolour. Usually, sarpanches unfurl the Tricolour on Independence Day at primary schools of their respective villages.
“Before the ceremony began, Sakhiya ordered me to sit in a chair arranged on the dias and not move from there else I would lose that chair also,” Jogel told The Indian Express.
Sakhiya is the husband of Trusha, the deputy sarpanch of Nagadka village panchayat. Nagadka is a Patidar dominated village, but there are around 15 Dalit families. Jogel was elected sarpanch uncontested last year as the post of sarpanch was reserved for Dalit.
The sarpanch said that he filed the police complaint after consulting other Dalits of the village. “We don’t want to create any acrimony between the Dalits and the Patidars in the village. But, my community members felt that Sakhiya’s behaviour was intolerable. Therefore, I filed the police complaint,” said Jogel.
P S Goswami, in-charge DSP (SC/ST cell) of Rajkot Rural police, said: “We have registered offence under relevant sections of the IPC and the prevention of atrocities Act. Investigation is on,”said Goswami.
It was also learnt that some of the members of the village panchayat have submitted no confidence motion against Jogel to the taluka development officer of Gondal. The TDO is yet to initiate action on it.