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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Una flogging victims write to President: Not considered a citizen of India, deport us

"Despite being Hindus, we are not considered as Hindu and we have been through torture/harassment and we are not considered a citizen of India," one of the victims in the 2016 Una Dalit flogging case said.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: January 13, 2020 10:35:57 pm
Videos of the alleged assault had gone viral on social media platforms and had led to a national outcry. (File)

Four years after a group of Dalits was allegedly assaulted by gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) in Mota Samadhiyala village of Una in Gujarat, one of the victims has written to President Ramnath Kovind asking to be deported to another country “where they wouldn’t face discrimination”.

The letter, dated January 7, was written by Vashram Sarvaiya, one of the eight Dalit victims. “…Despite being Hindus, we are not considered as Hindu and we have been through torture/harassment and we are not considered a citizen of India. So, let our family members’ citizenship be canceled and we be moved to a country where we are treated as citizens and we don’t have to face discrimination,” the letter mentioned.

“The victims should be granted permission for ichcha mrityu (euthanasia) as, if we cannot be considered as citizens and have to face torture despite being a Hindu and a native of India, then we feel, our lives in this country, is meaningless.”

A group of purported cow vigilantes had allegedly assaulted Sarvaiya, his younger brother Ramesh, cousin Ashok and relative Bechar while they were skinning a cow carcass in Mota Samathiyala village in then Una taluka of Gir Somnath district on July 11, 2016. The cow vigilantes alleged that the four were skinning a slaughtered cow. Vashram’s father Balu and mother Kunvar, and two relatives were also allegedly assaulted by the cow vigilantes when they tried to intervene.

The accused had later allegedly kidnapped Vashram, Ramesh, Ashok, and Bechar and took them to Una, where they were allegedly tied to a car and flogged. The victims were also allegedly paraded in the town. The assailants had then abandoned the four Dalits near a police station in Una town. Videos of the alleged assault had gone viral on social media platforms and had led to a national outcry

As reported by the Indian Express in April 2018, the family had embraced Buddhism. The letter further stated that despite repeated requests and communications to the authorities, there had been no response to the victim’s families’ demands.

“After the atyachar (flogging incident), the victim families’ means of livelihoods have been snatched and since four years, we have had no means of income, which is why we have requested the government to allocate them land for farming. If the request cannot be acceded to, then in the coming time, we will have to self-immolate ourselves…which we are informing of in writing (right now), for which you will be held accountable, which is why we request that our demands be paid attention to,” the letter said.

The letter was also marked to the collector of Gir Somnath, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and police station of Gir Gadhada.

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