Five persons accused of announcing a social boycott of Dalits in Lhor village of Kadi tehsil in Mehsana district were released on bail recently by a special court in Mehsana. Meanwhile, a convention of Dalits in Lhor on Wednesday decided to host a community meal in the village, to which people from all castes would be invited.
The Dalits of Lhor were allegedly boycotted by local upper castes earlier this month, who objected to a marriage procession in the village where the Dalit groom rode a horse. Police registered an FIR against five persons from the village — Vinuji Thakor, Baldevji Thakor, Bhopaji Thakor, Manu Barot and Gabhaji Thakor. Vinuji is the sarpanch of the village and Baldevji his deputy.
The five moved bail petitions before the sessions court, and a special court presided over by district judge B A Dave recently granted them regular bail.
“The court has granted the five bail on the condition that they will not enter the revenue limits of Lhor village till the police file a chargesheet in the case,” Additional public prosecutor in the case Ashok Makwana said.
The Lhor incident was followed by four similar incidents in various parts of Gujarat. On Wednesday, 800 Dalits attended the convention organised by human rights group Navsarjan, where the decision to host the community meal was taken. “The date will be declared after the Dalits discuss the details among themselves,” Social activist Martin Macwan of Navsarjan said. “The idea is to lead a progressive initiative. So far, the Dalits have remained confrontational, (but here the idea is to bring communities together). Dalits are not against anybody. The fight is against the mentality and the prejudices against them,” he added.
Macwan also said that it has been decided at the convention to ask the Gujarat government to ensure that Gujarat is free of untouchability by August 15.