Gujarat Dalit protest: ‘Told CM Anandiben Patel we want justice, not financial assistance’

The families have adopted a rotational system for disposing of carcasses — each family is in charge for a week.

Written by Gopal B Kateshiya | Rajkot | Updated: July 21, 2016 1:44 pm
Guarat, Dalit thrashing, Gujarat Dalit thrashing, Una incident, Schedule Castes members thrashed in Gujarat, Schedule Castes members thrashed in Una, Guarat news, latest news, India news, Latest news The victim’s family. Express photo

WHEN CHIEF Minister Anandiben Patel met him on Wednesday, Balu Sarvaiya, 46, told her he wanted justice — justice for himself, his wife Kunvar and sons Vashram, 26, and Ramesh, 23, who were beaten up, allegedly by a group of gau rakshaks, on July 11.

“I told the Chief Minister that I want justice, not financial assistance,” Sarvaiya told The Indian Express.

At his one-room house in Mota Samadhiyala village, in Una taluka of Gir Somnath district, the demand for justice has become a refrain.

“We have been skinning and disposing cattle carcasses for generations. It is our traditional occupation. Never have we been attacked for doing our work,” says Balu’s uncle, Karshan. “We are very scared. We will not touch carcasses from now on,” he adds.

“We are sons of Hindus. We can never slaughter a cow. We always start skinning a cow from the legs. They have done us great injustice by accusing us of cow slaughter,” says Balu’s brother, Mukesh. Balu himself is the proud owner of a cow.

WATCH VIDEO: Dalit Protests Spread In Gujarat, Voices Rise In Parliament


There are 27 Dalit families in the village, according to sarpanch Praful Korat. Only three of them, including Balu, own some land. The rest work as agricultural labouers.

The families have adopted a rotational system for disposing of carcasses — each family is in charge for a week. But Balu has developed contacts in at least a dozen villages nearby. So his family has a carcass disposal service, and owns a rickshaw to transport the dead cattle.

“On an average, we dispose of three carcasses everyday,” says Vashram, from his hospital bed in Rajkot. According to the villagers, they earn about Rs 500 per carcass. Also, the cattle owner usually gives them foodgrain for disposing of the carcass.

But all this may stop now.

“We have decided to give up this profession after this incident. We will take care of our mothers (cows) and perform the last rites when they die. Let those whose mothers (cows) die, take care of them. We don’t want to do it on their behalf anymore,” says Ramesh Sarvaiya, whose nephew Ashok, 20, was among those beaten up.

“We have been cleaning their dirt so far. But we want to stop now. If we are subjected to such atrocities for doing this work, what will our children face if they continue to do the same job,” says Dhanji Sarvaiya, another relative.

Balu’s sons and two hired labourers, Ashok, 20, and Bechar, 30, were beaten up when they were reportedly skinning a dead cow in Mota Samadhiyala village.
Balu, his nephew, Devshi Babariya, and the owner of the dead cow, Naja Chora, were also beaten up when they tried to intervene. The video of the incident was circulated on social media, sparking protests by Dalits across the state.

The anger among members of the community is palpable, even in Ahmedabad where the BJP wields control.

Addressing a press conference in Surat, Kanti Randeria, a member of the Surat BJP unit, said: “After 10 days, the chief minister goes to the house of the victims. Why did she take so much time? Day after day, the attacks on Dalits are increasing in Gujarat. Over the last 15 years, there have been 15,976 attacks on Dalits.”
He claimed that at least 27 Dalit women were raped in the first four months of this year. “Since 2001, over 282 Dalits have been murdered in Gujarat. Protection should be given to Dalits,” he said.

“Social Justice Minister Ramanlal Vora should have visited them first, and not just accompanied the CM,” said another Dalit leader from the BJP who did not want to be named.

“We have demanded a ban on the Gau Raksha Dal. Those working under this banner take the law in their hands and beat up innocent people belonging to the Dalit and minority communities. We will organise dharnas and hunger strikes, and ask Dalits working in the state government to wear black bands as a sign of their protest,” said Rahul Rashtrapal, another Dalit leader, at the same press conference.

Meanwhile, the main accused who reportedly led the gau rakshaks, Prafulgiri Goswami, has claimed that he is the Gir Somnath district president of Shiv Sena. However, Jimmy Advani, Shiv Sena president for Saurashtra region, said the party has not appointed any office-bearers for the district.

— With ENS, Ahmedabad, Una

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  1. A
    Ajay G
    Jul 21, 2016 at 5:26 am
    Why Dalit v/s Gaurakshak issue in Gujrat is being linked to Modi? lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Can't anti-modi be Gaurakshak ?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Does it not seem a propaa to project Modi as anti-dalit ?
    1. B
      Jul 21, 2016 at 2:51 pm
      How does anyone conclude that those who committed crime were pro-Modi ?
      1. B
        Jul 21, 2016 at 2:53 pm
        Snakes like Sidhu, Azad, Yashwant Sinha, Swamy are also there.
        1. R
          Rocky Rana
          Jul 21, 2016 at 4:25 am
          Amit Shah would have been managing Gujarat better as the foes of BJP are manufacturing Dalit incidents one after the other, earlier it was similar fake incident in Haryana where some so-callec Dalit children were burned then the Rohith Vimula fake dalit incident in Hyderabad.
          1. R
            Rocky Rana
            Jul 21, 2016 at 4:22 am
            Why these incidents happen just before the parliament sessions, food for thought. Instead of discussing on the issues of national importance the third-grade parliamentarians we have elected waste the precious time in discussions on non-issues which should be discussed in state emblies.
            1. V
              Vinod D'sa
              Jul 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm
              Where in the article is any such conclusion mentioned? But that's the hard part of being a bhakt, isn't it...crediting every success to the Dear Leader, but strenuously denying his responsibility when, pardon the pun, the cows come home.
              1. D
                Jul 21, 2016 at 11:54 am
                great I SALUTE MR Balu Sarvaiya Pride is more important for generation then offer of MONEY from any necked Politicians -(IT IS COURT WHO SHOULD DECIDE OF COMPENSATION AND PUNISHMENT and not media or politicians) Shree Balu Sarvaiya will be India's hero and example to all other who suffer inequality kicks if he sends off other politicians who would come to visit JUST to put salt over it for their own selfish interest- BECAUSE OF SUCH POLITICIANS DALITS, MUSLIMS, AND ALL OTHER DO NOT EVER GET FAIR TREATMENT - DEMAND EQUALITY AND NOT RESERVATION IN THIS OR THAT, DEMAND EQUALITY AS AN INDIAN AND NEVER CALL YOURSELF DALIT OTHERWISE YOU YOUR SELF IS OPENING A DOOR OF DISCRIMINATION TO YOU AND OTHER - NRI knows every CONGRESSI, AAP and RSS are DIRT OF INDIA HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE
                1. S
                  Jul 21, 2016 at 4:24 am
                  These Dalits have no livelihood source to sustain their life. If there is a way to give some financial support then they may withdraw from these menial work. Unless they do this, the upper cl/caste will not learn any lesson.
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