Unidentified men stabbed a 17-year-old Dalit boy Tuesday evening in a Gandhinagar village where two Dalits had earlier been attacked, allegedly by upper castes, for sporting a moustache.
The third attack prompted over 300 Dalit men from villages around Sanand to adopt as their WhatsApp display picture a logo of a twirled moustache with a crown and Mr Dalit written on it. It came two days after a Dalit youth was killed in a Borsad village in Anand, allegedly by upper caste men, for watching a garba at a temple.
The teenaged boy was attacked in Limbodara village in Gandhinagar district around 5.30 pm when he was returning from school after an examination. Hours before the attack, the boy had told The Indian Express that he too was assaulted on September 25 when he was with Piyush Parmar (24) who was attacked, allegedly by Darbars, for sporting a moustache.Day after Dalit youth’s murder in Gujarat: ‘They banged his head against wall, they kept kicking him’
Parmar works for a private power transmission firm in Gandhinagar. Following the attack, an FIR was registered on September 27 at the Kalol police station under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
On September 29, another Dalit, Kunal Maheria, who works for a private telecom company, was attacked for sporting a moustache. An FIR was lodged the following day.
Kajal, elder sister of the 17-year-old boy, said: “He is in pain, he received seven stitches. He was attacked with a blade. We have no idea who the two men were. He came home running with a bleeding back. We rushed him to the Civil Hospital in Gandhinagar.”
“The first time he was beaten, we did not file an FIR because he is still in school and we thought it could affect his future. Only Piyush and Kunal Maheria filed the FIRs. But this is too much. We are not safe in our own village,” Kajal said.
Gandhinagar SP Virendrasingh Yadav said: “We are looking into the matter, making sure there is no bias. The boy has been attacked and an FIR has been filed under Section 326 of the IPC (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means). The boy was attacked with a blade by two men on a bike who had covered their faces. When we investigated in the village, we were surprised that those nearest to the place of the incident did not hear any scream. We will make sure that we investigate the matter thoroughly.” Dalits launch mission to make India untouchability-free by 2047
Limbodara sarpanch Ranjitsinh Vahegala called a meeting to discuss the latest attack. “Our village was peaceful until recently. First the two cases, and now this attack. It is a shame because the attack took place in the village. We do not know if the two persons who attacked him belong to another caste or not.”
Meanwhile, Dalit activists in Gujarat have called a protest meet Wednesday outside the Vidhan Sabha.
“The call for protest is not from any Dalit organisation or group. Various activists have come together and we think enough is enough. In the last one week, there have been many cases of Dalits being attacked. In Limbodara village, two people were beaten up for sporting a moustache. In Anand, a Dalit was killed for attending a garba. There has been no statement from the government. We will demand the resignation of the Home Minister if we are not assured of action being taken in the cases,” Dalit activist Subodh Parmar said.
To protest the attacks over a moustache, Dalits near Sanand have adopted a twirled moustache logo as their WhatsApp display picture. Anirudh Solanki from Sanand said: “It is a twirled black moustache under which we have a crown and a line that reads Mr Dalit. We put it together this afternoon.
It is our way of telling people that Dalits will sport a moustache and twirl it like a king without a care in the world. We are sure that more people will join us and change their Facebook and WhatsApp display pictures in the coming days.