A WEEK after a Dalit family was assaulted for allegedly skinning a dead cow, protests turned violent on Monday evening, leading to tension in parts of Gujarat. Demonstrators burnt two state buses near Dhoraji town in Rajkot district, and set fire to another State Transport bus near Jamnagar’s Dhrol town.
The protesters also blocked NH-27, which connects Rajkot and Porbandar, for a while before it was cleared by late night.
Earlier in the day, seven people attempted suicide to protest against the assault on the Dalit family in Gir Somnath district, even as Chief Minister Anandiben Patel ordered a CID probe into the incident of assault.
Two more people, including a 17-year-old Muslim boy, were arrested in the case. Dalits staged protests across the state demanding action against the accused “gau rakshaks”.
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In Gondal town of Rajkot district, five Dalits, including a Congress councillor, drank phenyl, alleging that the authorities had gone soft on the accused. Two other protesters consumed germicide in Jamkandorana town of the district.
While timely intervention by the police and paramedics saved the lives of the five protesters in Gondal, the condition of the two Jamkandorana labourers was reported to be serious.
The Chief Minister said that the state government would bear medical expenses of the victims, according to a release.
Protests were also witnessed in Surendranagar, Surat and Navsari districts. In Surendranagar, a group of demonstrators protested outside the district collector’s office with five vehicles filled with cattle carcasses, demanding strict action against those involved in the assault on the seven Dalit people.
Chief Minister Anandiben Patel handed over the case to the CID and announced that the trial would be held in a designated court after elected representatives from Gir Somnath district met her in the morning.