In Una village, scores gather to meet Mayawati, with their tales of ‘distress’https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/mayawati-una-dalit-meeting-elections-vote-2954538/

In Una village, scores gather to meet Mayawati, with their tales of ‘distress’

The Dalit victims of Mota Samadhiyala, along with their family members, made an overnight journey to reach Ahmedabad on Thursday.

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Dalit family from Una, along with other members of the community, in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Source: Javed Raja

Hoping to meet BSP leader Mayawati, about 40 odd relatives of Balu Sarvaiya, one of the Dalit victims who was flogged in Una of Gujarat’s Gir Somnath district for skinning a dead cow on July 11, were in his village, Mota Samadhiyala, on Thursday. They had come to articulate their grievances and “tales of distress”, but were left “disappointed” as there was a change in Mayawati’s itinerary and she didn’t visit Una.

The Dalit victims of Mota Samadhiyala, along with their family members, made an overnight journey to reach Ahmedabad on Thursday. Mayawati was in Ahmedabad on Thursday to meet the Dalit victims.

In Mota Samadhiyala, among the hordes that gathered to see the BSP chief, besides the relatives of the Sarvaiyas, there were villagers from Una town. “Is Mayaben really not coming,” asked Sonaben Rathod, in her late 60s, who had made the 20-km journey from Una in a state transport bus to share her “distress” with the Dalit leader. “A property dispute has troubled my family for the last 20 years. I had come with great hopes to meet ben and seek some help,” she said.

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BSP chief Mayawati meets a victim in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Source: Javed Raja

Suresh Bagada, a relative of Balu Sarvaiya, reached Mota Samadhiyala from Savarkundla, covering nearly 70 kilometre. “Four of our family members came from Savarkundla yesterday when we were told that our Dalit leader was coming,” he said. Bagada didn’t make this trip when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited Mota Samadhiyala. “This visit was special with our own leader visiting our village and house. It’s unfortunate that we could not get to meet her,” he said.

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The white tent on the street across the Dalits’ small one-room house is still there. “This was put up when people started rushing in to provide some shade to them. Today, we were expecting Mayawati so we did not remove it,” said Karsanbhai Sarvaiya, Balu’s nephew.

“When we learnt that she will not visit our village late yesterday night, I chose not to go as there had to be somebody back here as well though even I wished I could have met her,” he added.

The SRP point in a closed house adjoining Balu’s home still stands guard. “No. we have no official information about any VIP visit,” one of the personnel said.