Gujarat Dalits put BJP govt on notice, protest march to reach Una on Independence Day

Seeking strong measures to check atrocities against them, leaders asked Dalits to give up disposing dead cattle and stop cleaning sewers to “send a strong message” to the state government.

By: Express News Service | Updated: August 1, 2016 11:55 am
Hundreds of members of India's low-caste Dalit community take a pledge not to remove cattle carcass as they gather for a rally to protest against the attack on their community members in Ahmadabad, India, Sunday, July 31, 2016.Dalits have been protesting after four men belonging to their community were beaten while trying to skin a dead cow in Una in western Gujarat state early this month. Placard in Gujarati, front, reads, "Long Live Dalit Unity". (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) Hundreds of members from Dalit community take a pledge not to remove cattle carcass as they gather for a rally to protest against the attack on their community members in Ahmedabad, Sunday, July 31, 2016. (Source: AP)

Protesting the flogging of a Dalit family by gau rakshaks in Una for skinning a dead cow, thousands of Dalits gathered in Ahmedabad Sunday where community leaders put the BJP-led government in Gujarat on notice ahead of the 2017 assembly polls. Seeking strong measures to check atrocities against them, leaders asked Dalits to give up disposing dead cattle and stop cleaning sewers to “send a strong message” to the state government.

They announced a march from Ahmedabad to Una between August 5 and August 15. They said they plan to gather in Una on August 15 to observe and “feel independence” there.

The Dalit Maha Sammelan in the Sabarmati area of Ahmedabad, organised by Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti (UDALS), flagged several pending Dalit issues, including justice in the Thangadh killing of three Dalit youths in 2012. Valji Rathod, father of one of the three youths killed in Thangadh of Surendranagar district, declared he would sit on a hunger strike in Gandhinagar from Monday.

Addressing the gathering, UDALS convener Jignesh Mevani, raising what he said were unresolved legal and constitutional issues of Dalits in Gujarat, said: “This government believes in Daliton ka Utpidan, Daliton ka Vinash (persecution and annihilation of Dalits) and not in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.”

Referring to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was very hurt and upset over the Una incident, Mevani told the gathering: “I want to ask Rajnathji, if during his governance in Gujarat (between 2001 and 2014), did Modi visit a single Dalit family of Gujarat which faced atrocity? If the answer is yes, we will wind up our protest programme.”

“To give a strong message to the government, I urge all Dalits to discontinue the work of disposing dead animals. I also want you to take a pledge of discontinuing the work of cleaning sewer lines. We no longer wish to do this work and want the government to allot agriculture land to us, so that we can live a respectable life,” he said. “If atrocities on Dalits do not stop, we will show our strength in the 2017 assembly polls,” he said.

Mevani mentioned several issues which he said concerned Dalits: enactment of Reservation Act to fill the backlog of reserved vacancies, absence of exclusive criminal courts for trial of atrocity cases, criminal prosecution of

Una police officers for criminal negligence in the flogging case, utilisation of funds under the Scheduled Caste (SC) sub-plan and Scheduled Tribe (ST) sub-plan via enactment of a special legislation, actual allocation of surplus land to landless Dalits under provisions of the Agriculture Land Ceiling Act.

He demanded a public apology from the Gujarat government for withdrawing a book on Dr B R Ambedkar. He said criminal cases filed against Dalits recently in different parts of the state should be withdrawn.

Some family members of the victims in Thangadh and Una also addressed the gathering. Among them were Jitu Sarvaiya and Keval Rathod from Mota Samadhiyala. They are related to Balu Sarvaiya who, along with six of his family members, was flogged by gau rakshaks on July 11.

Veteran Dalit activists like Valjibhai Patel, Nitin Gurjar, Chandu Maheriya, Jayanti Makadia, Manjula Pradeep and Ratna Vora joined the gathering. Also present were Nirzari Sinha, wife of the late rights activist and lawyer Mukul Sinha, former Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rahul Sharma, folk singers Charul-Vinay and advocate Shamshad Pathan. Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri, acquitted in the Akshardham terror attack case, too was there.

A number of Muslim youths also joined the gathering with the message of Dalit-Muslim unity. Some leaders of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind Gujarat too were present.

In fact, the proposal to march from Ahmedabad to Una came from Rahul Sharma. “Let us have a march from Ahmedabad to Una and feel independence at Una on August 15. I am ready. This social awakening should not be limited to this sammelan,” Sharma said.

(With PTI inputs)

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  1. B
    Bipin Bhardwaj
    Aug 1, 2016 at 6:27 am
    Salute the unity of the people, the Muslims Dalits women and youth , which will spell the end of the colonial legacy, backwardness, hunger , illiteracy and above all the the corrupt and criminal political parties rule. The end of caste system is the way forward, a vision for the future of India and well being of the w humanity. Let this march become the most inspiring movement for the w India to end corruption and Loot of the people and the country's wealth for the prosperity and well being of All.
    Reply
    1. 4
      4thAugust1932
      Aug 1, 2016 at 8:13 am
      Congress can win if it gives Gun Licences to 300 million SC/ST in India;
      Reply
      1. 4
        4thAugust1932
        Aug 1, 2016 at 8:12 am
        If I were Prime Minister, I'd give Gun Licences to 300 million SC/ST in India;
        Reply
        1. 4
          4thAugust1932
          Aug 1, 2016 at 8:14 am
          Tell Brahmin to take 4% land from India and go build their own Brahmin nation as per "Communal Award"; They're less than 4% in India;
          Reply
          1. B
            Brijesh
            Jul 31, 2016 at 10:56 pm
            Strong Dalit for stronger India. Safronist vs Rest of India. Hindu have no problem with Dalits only Safronist, RSS, BJP, VHP, Bajrangdal, Shiv sena and Gau Rakshak have who all are same but use different names. Hope DALIT SENA will defend itself.
            Reply
            1. Y
              Yakobi
              Jul 31, 2016 at 11:47 pm
              Denial of human equality is hindrance to truth hind duism terrorism against humanity, is not a faith but a crime against humanity by faith,deserving of it own unique anti dot , hindrance to truth hind uism terr orism in kind, expect not of one borne in, hind crime of hi ndu fil thy indec ism inner self ism to, act like a human, but to be treated in his own unique hi ndu criminal way, hindu ism terr orism in kind, to teach him to be a human, or be on a pa yer of fire, to be BBQ ed, for consumption by a hin du animal filt hy self centered by faith, Ag ori in human form.
              Reply
              1. H
                Harry Achari
                Aug 1, 2016 at 5:08 am
                A Dalit girl in Kerala has been brutally murdered, two Dalits young girls were raped, killed and hung on a tree in UP. We did not see Rahul or AK there. No demonstration. Because the criminals were of the rogue minority.
                Reply
                1. H
                  Harry Achari
                  Aug 1, 2016 at 5:22 am
                  TMC, INC, CPM team made aadhaar cards for Bangladeshi infiltrants. The result. One of them has brutally murderred a Dalit girl in Kerala a few months ago. am, trupura and WB are full of them. Serious part is, many infiltrants are also of stanis. Now they are working in Kerala under the label of " Bengalis". The Dalit girls murderer was an amy ( probably an infiltrant of Bangladesh), still no one wants to talk about it. Vote bank politics!!!!
                  Reply
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