In a show of strength,hundreds of Dalits from different villages of Ahmedabad district gathered at Rethal village here on Sunday in a condolence meeting for a youth who was killed a month ago by a group of people from the same village.
On January 25,Atul Khodabhai Rathod was thrashed to death by fellow villagers over a petty issue. Following the incident,the Dalits had camped at the Sanand police station with the body of the victim demanding immediate arrest of the accused. Later,the police restored to lathicharge to disperse the crowd.
In the meeting,a large number of Dalits from Sanand,Viramgan,Dholka,Bavla,Kheda and Khambat had arrived at the village.They expressed their condolence to the grieved family. The meeting was called to showcase the strength and unity among Dalits so that the repeated cases of atrocities do not occur,the organisers said.
However,the speakers were warned not to indulge in any sort of blame-game and were restricted to raise issue pertaining to dalit communities alone. A couple of local Congress leaders were also remain present in the meeting.
During the meet various speakers including Renu Gurjar,chairperson of Rasthtriya Safai Karmchari Ayog,appealed the gathering to eliminate the caste system within the dalits and said that they all should become schedule caste based on the principals of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.
The organisers prevented many speakers to say anything beyond the condolence which irked various leaders who had come from different places. They said such a meet which doesnt happen frequently should have addressed the issues related to dalits. They said that even among the Dalits there are discriminations and the meet should have addressed those issues.
Dalits themselves are divided in sub-castes. The communities are suffering from various issues such as alcohol and gambling apart from illiteracy and poverty. The organisers should have addressed such things to change mindset of the people, said Dayabhai Sonara of Triratna Bodh Mahasangh.
According to police records obtained by an NGO,in Ahmedabad district more than 250 dalits sustained injuries while more than 100 were severely injured in different incidents over the last six years. Besides,two dalit women were raped,four women were raped and murdered,and there were 11 cases of rapes with abduction in the last six years. This grim picture of atrocities against dalits was distributed among the the villagers during the meet