The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Navsarjan Trust, which works for the uplift of Dalits, submitted a fact-finding report to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday. In the report, they have demanded a probe into the Una Dalit flogging incident by two sitting judges of the Gujarat High Court, completion of the probe and filing of the chargesheet within 60 days, setting up of a special court for speedy trial of the case, payment of Rs 10 lakh compensation to each of the victims and appointment of at least two “credible and genuine special public prosecutors in this case”.
The the 11-page report, along with photographs of the flogging and victims’ confinement in police lock-up without booking any case against them, they also sought immediate arrest of the remaining accused involved in the attack and plotting the conspiracy, which, according to the report, includes “police and village head”. So far, the police have arrested 31 accused. Four policemen have been put under suspension, but they have not been arrested.
Requesting NHRC to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate and collect authentic facts related to the incident, the two NGOs sought adequate police protection to the victims and their families until the trial is over. They also demanded allocation of five acres of land to each affected family as rehabilitation measure to liberate them from the caste-based occupation.
To ensure that such incidents did not occur in future, the two NGOs recommended that “all cow vigilante groups be declared illegal and banned across the state of Gujarat as also in the country”.
Regarding the involvement of the village sarpanch and the police in the flogging incident, the report said that village sarpanch of Mota Samadhiyala, Prafulbhai Korat, a Patel, had a grievance against the victims’ family over the construction of the latter’s house on a piece of agricultural land. The report said that when the accused were taking the Dalit youths to Una, the police met them on the way, but they did nothing to rescue the victims from attacks. “This shows that the police were involved in this atrocity,” says the fact-finding report. The report says that the victims, after being beaten up badly, were taken to the Una police station by the attackers and were then put up in police lock-up. “Even then there is no record of it in the police station diary,” the report says.
“There was no written complaint against Dalits in the station diary of police station, even then police took law in their hands by putting them in the lockup,” the report says.