SEVEN MEMBERS of a Dalit family were allegedly beaten up by a group of gau rakshaks for skinning a dead cow in Una town of Gir Somnath district in Gujarat on Monday. Three of the alleged attackers were arrested on Tuesday.
A purported video of the victims being attacked with iron rods and sticks was circulated on social media. In the video, some of the victims are seen tied to a car, while the accused are beating them up.
Police said the incident occurred around 10 am on Monday, when Balu Sarvaiya, a 46-year-old resident of Mota Samadhiyala village in Una taluka, and some of his family members were skinning the carcass. In his complaint, Balu’s son Vashram (26) said they had brought the carcass from Bediya village. “The accused came in a white car and asked why we were slaughtering the cow. I told them that the cow was dead and that we were merely removing its skin. But they started abusing us and attacked us with iron pipes, sticks and a knife with which we were removing the skin of the carcass,” Vashram said in his complaint.
The other victims have been identified as Balu’s wife Kunvarben, their other son, Ramesh (23), and relatives Bechar Sarvaiya (30), Ashok Sarvaiya (20) and Deveshi Babariya (32).
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After beating them up, the attackers reportedly took Vashram, Ramesh, Ashok and Bechar to Una town. There, they paraded the four victims, and flogged them publicly all the way to the police station. As the police arrived, the attackers fled in their vehicle.
Balu and Ramesh sustained head injuries. They have been admitted to Junagadh civil hospital. “They have sustained injuries caused by blunt objects. Prima facie, they don’t seem to have sustained any fracture. Their condition is out of danger but further tests are being carried out,” said Dr Pala Lakhnotra of Junagadh hospital. Bechar, Ashok, Vashram and Deveshi were taken to the community health centre in Una town.
In his complaint, Vashram named six persons — Pramodigiri Goswami, Balvant Balvant Dhiru, Rasik, Ramesh Jadav, Rakesh Joshi and Nagji Ahir. The last three have been arrested.
According to the complaint, Vashram, Ramesh and Balu were also robbed of their mobile phones. Based on the complaint, Una police booked the six accused for attempt to murder, dacoity, criminal intimidation and under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocity) Act.
“We have recorded statements of the victims. Three of the accused whose faces are visible in the video were formally arrested at 2 pm today,” said Kirtikumar Joshi, DSP (SC, ST Cell), Gir Somnath.
“Investigations are on. We are probing any lapse on the part of local police,” said Gir Somnath SP H R Chaudhary.