FOUR Dalit men, among seven members of a family beaten up by alleged gau rakshaks for skinning a dead cow in Mota Samadhiyala village of Una taluka in Gujarat’s Gir Somnath district on July 11, were discharged from the Rajkot hospital on Tuesday. They were escorted by the police to their village. Doctors said they had recovered from injuries.
Vashram Sarvaiya (26), his brother and cousin — Ramesh (23) and Ashok (20) — and relative Bechar (30) were discharged from the government hospital in the morning. However, relatives and Dalits present at their bedside requested doctors to continue treatment as, according to them, the four had not “recovered fully”.
Deven Vanvi, convenor of Saurashtra Dalit Sangathan, who was present at the hospital and was making arrangements for the return of the four victims to Mota Samadhiyala, said, “But the doctors are saying that all of them have recovered and that they don’t require further treatment.”
Vashram said a few more days in hospital would have been better. “Since I am not that well-built, I still feel pain in my back. They had slapped me repeatedly and I still have trouble hearing. Sometimes, fluid starts coming out from my left ear,” Vashram said. But Dr Dharmendra Vatsraj, medical superintendent of the PDU General hospital, said the four were alright. “They have fully recovered. They don’t require treatment anymore. Nor do they have any other complications warranting even OPD treatment,” he said. Incidentally, the state government covered all expenses of their medical treatment.
While Rajkot city police commissioner could not be reached for comment, Rajkot rural SP Antrip Sud said the four had safely crossed the district limits. “The victims or their family didn’t directly contact us for security. But we were intimated by Rajkot city police commissioner about it. In fact, we had a discussion with additional commissioner a week ago and it was decided to provide a security cover to these patients whenever they are discharged from hospital,” Sud said, adding a team of eight policemen escorted the family.
The Junagadh police took over the responsibility from Rajkot rural police near Jetpur and ensured safe passage to the ambulance till Shantipara approach road on National Highway 8D on the border of Gir Somnath. Scores of Dalits had been waiting at Timbawadi area on Junagadh bypass to welcome the victims, but the vehicles did not stop. “The driver of the ambulance told us that he had instructions not to halt without police permission. We also agreed, given the atmosphere and did not insist on a stopover. We called up a few people and asked them to excuse us for not being able to meet them,” Nanji Solanki, Vashram’s paternal uncle who was in the ambulance, said.
Vashram’s parents — Balu Sarvaiya (46) and Kunvarben (42) — and Balu’s distant nephew Devshi Babariya (32) were also beaten up when they tried to intervene. While Vashram, Bechar and Ashok were admitted to community health centre in Una the same day, Balu, Ramesh and Kunvar were taken to Junagadh civil hospital. Kunvar had left Junagadh hospital on July 12 while Balu and Ramesh were discharged on July 18 after they recovered from injuries. Meanwhile, Vashram, Ashok and Bechar were referred to the Rajkot hospital on July 16 for further treatment.
However, Balu has been at his home in Mota Samadhiyala since July 20. Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi, NCP leader Praful Patel, CPM leader Brinda Karat, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Parshottam Rupala visited the family last week. They also visited the Rajkot hospital and enquired about the health of the four. Gujarati film actor Naresh Kanodiya visited the hospital on Monday. No VIP visit was planned on the day the four were discharged.
Medical records of the treatment given to the four, accessed by The Indian Express, show that the four were kept on pain-killers and anti-inflammatory drugs. “The four did not require treatment at all on the day they were referred here. From the very first day, they had been administered only pain-killers and anti-inflammatory drugs,” said a senior doctor of PDU hospital.
A leading physician and general surgeon of the city said, “According to the medical reports, all four patients suffered no major bone fracture or other bone damage. All injuries are of soft tissues, mostly on hand, legs and back. For soft tissues injuries, there is no major medical treatment. They heal naturally.”