30 Dalit groups in Gujarat form united front to fight atrocities

Ahmedabad, July 26 (IANS) Forging a joint front to fight atrocities against the community after the public flogging of some Dalit youth, some 30 different Dalit groups from across Gujarat have announced they will not collect dead animals for skinning and also stop doing sanitation work.

The Dalit organisations have for the first time come together under a banner to fight against atrocities on the community under the banner of ‘Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti’ (Una Dalit Fight against Atrocities Committee). They will organise a mega rally on the issue in Ahmedabad on July 31 and launch their agitation.

The organisations announced that they would not collect dead animals anywhere in Gujarat and also launch a ‘Jhadu down’ (broom down) agitation, with persons involved with sanitation stopping work across all local government bodies.

“We have sought permission from the local administration to hold a rally of over one lakh Dalits next Sunday,” said Jignesh Mevani, convenor of the newly-formed body.

The Dalits will try to match this show with the Mahakranti Rally organized by the agitating Patel community members in Ahmedabad on August 25 last year, which was attended roughly by four to five lakh people.

Gujarat has been witnessing a series of Dalit rallies for the last one week, after the brutal public beating of Dalit youngsters in Una town on July 11 for skinning a dead cow by self-styled cow protection vigilantes snowballed into a huge national controversy.

Among the key demands of the newly formed joint action group would be to invoke the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, against those responsible as well as the conspirators of the Una torture.

They also demand that any person convicted of terrorizing Dalits anywhere in the country be sent outside their respective district limits, appoint sanitation workers in Gujarat as permanent government employees and extend the benefits of Pay Commission to them, set up colonies for Dalits who have been forced to migrate from villages due to discrimination on caste basis in rural Gujarat and relocate them to posh localities of the cities.

The organization states that since Dalits would no longer continue with their traditional profession of collecting and removing carcass of dead animals, the Gujarat government must immediately allot land to them. “Our agitation would continue till our demands are met,” Mevani said.

Meanwhile, the four Dalit youngsters who were beaten mercilessly at Una and later admitted to Rajkot Civil Hospital were discharged on Tuesday. The Dalit youth, Ramesh Sarvaiya, Ashok Sarvaiya, Vashram Sarvaiya and Bechar Sarvaiya were admitted in Rajkot Civil Hospital on July 16.

However, they said he would not return home to Mota Samadhiyala village in Una taluka of Gir-Somnath district without police security.

“They fear that they would be attacked again if they leave without police protection. The administration is likely to take a final call on their demand later,” a senior hospital official said.



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