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Gujarat: Gandhians, Sarvodaya activists sit on day-long fast to express solidarity with Una Dalit victims

The activists initially wanted to sit within the premises of the Ashram itself. However, they were refused permission by Ashram trustee Amrutbhai Modi.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: August 11, 2016 3:38:54 pm
Gujarat, una dalits, una, dalits, una incident, Una flogging incident, gujarat Gandhians activists, gujarat Sarvodaya activists, Una Dalit victims, india news The trashing of members of Dalit community in Una had lead to state wide Protests. PTI Photo

Over two dozen Gandhian and Sarvodaya leaders, as also human rights activists, sat on a day-long fast from 8 am to 5 pm at the Imam Manzil, in front of the Gandhi Ashram on Thursday to express solidarity with the Dalit victims of Una. The fast was observed to try to bridge the gap between Dalits and non-Dalits that is widening as a result of the Una flogging incident.

The activists initially wanted to sit within the premises of the Ashram itself. However, they were refused permission by Ashram trustee Amrutbhai Modi. “I did not allow holding of the fast within the ashram premises because it could have provoked a controversy. We don’t want ashram to be dragged into any dispute,” replied Modi when asked about the reason for denying permission.

Modi himself joined the Gandhians and sat on fast. “It was at the last moment that we decided to shift the venue to Imam Mazil,” said Modi. Modi said that the main purpose of the fast was to end the widening gap between Dalits and non-Dalits in the state following the Una incident.

“Gandhians and Sarvodaya workers are very small in numbers. But we are doing whatever we can do for unity and integrity of the society,” said Modi. Jaywant Mathkar, who came from the Wardha Gandhi Ashram, has offered to rehabilitate the four Dalit youths who were beaten up by cow vigilantes.

“I have offered to settle them in Nagpur and take care of them for the next 25 years if they wish so,” said Mathkar. Sarvodya leader Vijay diwan from Maharashtra said that the root cause of the atrocity on Dalits in Una was not the cow protection but the prevalence of caste system in the society. “The idea behind the flogging incident was to suppress Dalits and cow protection was just a pretext,” he said.

Diwan said that several social reformers like Thakkar Bapa, Ravishankar Maharaj, Anusuyaben Sarabhai, Dadasaheb Mavlankar and Parikshitlal Majumdar in Gujarat made efforts for eradication of caste system but it required more vigorous efforts and changes in mental attitude to end this retrogressive practice.

Others who sat on fast included Nitaben Mahadev and Mahadev vidrohi of the Sarva Seva Sangh, Sheikh Hussain of the Sadbhavna Sangh, Jayant diwan of Mumbai Sarviodaya Mandal and Ikram Mirza from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. Earlier, some of these activists had visited Una as well and met families of Dalit victims there.

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