A year after cow vigilantes assaulted seven Dalits in Una, a rally demanding justice for the victims was taken out in the town. On Tuesday, led by two of the seven victims, the rally began from Rokadiya Hanuman temple and culminated at the office of sub-divisional magistrate of Una.
Ramesh Sarvaiya (23) and his mother Kunvar (43) were among the seven Dalits who were assaulted by cow vigilantes for skinning a dead cow in Mota Samadhiyala village on July 11 last year. Ramesh’s father Balu Sarvaiya was also among those beaten up. The others included Balu’s elder son Vashram, nephew Ashok, relative Bechar and Devshi Babariya of Bediya village. The vigilantes had then allegedly abducted Vashram, Ramesh Ashok and Bechar in their car, brought them to Una and flogged them at a place near Una police station.
Videos of the incident had gone viral leading to a national outcry. CID (crime), which investigated the case, said that the cow was killed by a lion and the Dalits were only skinning its carcass. The police had arrested more than 40 persons, including four police personnel in connection with the case.
However, many demands of the victims are still pending. Besides Ramesh and Kunvar, Ashok’s mother Vimla, Bechar’s wife Hansa also joined the rally. Piyush Sarvaiya, a Dalit from Ankolali village of Una, whose elder brother was allegedly burnt alive by a mob of upper caste men in 2012, Keval Rathod, convenor of Samajik Ekta ane Jagruti Mission, a group working for rights of Dalits and social awareness, and victims of other atrocity cases were also part of the rally.
The Dalits raised slogans like Dalito pe atyachar karnevaloko fansi do (hang those are subjecting Dalits to atrocities), Guajrat sarkar hosh mein ao (come to your senses you Gujarat government), Brahmanvad se azadi do (Liberate us from Brahminisim), Jativad se azadi do (liberate us from casteisim) etc.
Balu, Vashram and Ashok were in Ahmedabad to take part in another protest event.
Later on, Rathod, Piyush and a few other Dalits made an oral representation to SDM Mahendra Prajapati. They demanded that the assault case should be transferred to CBI and victims should be provided assistance to construct homes. They also demanded that victims should also be provided employment. The Dalits also sought a ban on cow vigilantism and related organisations.
The SDM said that he assured the Dalits that he would convey their demands to the government. “I assured them that I would forward their list of demands to concerned departments of the state government. In fact, some of their demands have already been met. I shall also convey their demand for a special court to try the Mota Samadhiyala case to concerned authorities,” Prajapati told The Indian Express.
The SDM said that the rally passed off peacefully. He added that no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the taluka.