The roots of caste-based discrimination are dangerously ingrained in Indian society even today. As the Una flogging incident continues to bring back questions of true secularism, Dalits have taken the responsibility to make their voices heard.
The Incident that Sparked the Nation
A family of Dalits became the victim of a flogging incident when self-proclaimed cow vigilantes brutally assaulted them publicly. The police arrested Ramesh Jadav, Rakesh Joshi, Nagji Ahir, Balvant Goswami and Pramodgiri Goswami, days after the incident.
Perpetrators later identified as Nilesh Gohil and Satish Parmar were caught by the police next Saturday. All of the seven have been placed in judicial custody.
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According to the police, Pramodgiri and his accomplices assaulted Bablu Sarvaiya and his family while they were skinning a dead cow in Mota Samadhiyala village on July 11. Calling themselves ‘Gaurakshaks‘ and accusing the Dalits of cow slaughter, the vigilante group took Balu’s sons Ramesh, Vashram and two others to Una in their car.
There, they tied them to their car with a rope, then proceeded to beat them up with sticks and iron pipes while parading throughout the city. The group finally left the victims in front of Una police station.
Six of the victims had to be hospitalized after they were brutally beaten up by the Gauraskshaks. The incident had gone viral all over social media and triggered mass rage from all fronts. As a result, the S.P. Gir Somnath, as a result, suspended the Una police inspector and three others for the negligence of duty.
Leading the Fight Against Discrimination
‘Jignesh Mevani’ representing the UDALS, organised a public meeting on September 13. Members wrote and sent postcards to Narendra Modi and Amitabh Bachchan, among others.
Mevani placed Narendra Modi at the center of his agenda saying that ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki‘ commercials are a treat to watch. But as Dalits stopped cleaning the carcasses, he should come to Gujarat to spend some days and experience the ‘Badbu Gujarat Ki’(stink of Gujarat).
The Dalit organisation has also planned on rallies for landless people of Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Castes. In the following days, it will also raise issues faced by employees hired on fixed-pay salaries. Mevani said that the dates of their ‘Rail Roko’ march will be conducted soon.
Mevani also spoke about the contrasting imagery seen in the tourism ads for the state and the staggering reality that only a few know about.
#BadbuGujaratKi has been trending on twitter and other social media websites for several days. The group also plans on putting pressure on the sub-divisional magistrate’s office to resolve illegal encroachment of the Dalit-owned land. They claim that certain land in Ahmedabad is currently in possession by individuals of high caste. An injustice that will be met with severe action if it isn’t returned to its rightful owners.
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