In the villages of Una in Himachal Pradesh, there’s a lot riding on a name these days — after the district administration launched Una Utkarsh, an awareness scheme to drive home the value of girls in the family.
Seven Dalits were allegedly beaten up by gaurakshaks while they were skinning a dead cow in Mota Samadhiyala village of Una taluka in Gir Somnath district on July 11, 2016. The cow vigilantes had assaulted them physically accusing the Dalits of cow slaughter.
The Azadi Kooch was being organised to observe one year of the assault on seven members of a Dalit family at Mota Samadhiyala by a group of alleged “gau rakshaks” and public flogging of four of them in Una town.
“We would not know how to take the body back to the village for the final rites... Our ancestors lived there for over 400 years... We don’t know of any celebration or mourning anywhere else,” says Asha, 27, her face covered with a dupatta.
In the year since, the government has also concretised the lanes in the Dalit Vas. Vashram re-appeared for Class 12 Board examinations this March for social science, geography and English, but could clear only geography.