Gujarat unrest: 5 more Dalits attempt suicide in Saurashtra

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Rajkot, July 19 (IANS) Five more Dalit persons allegedly tried to commit suicide in two separate incidents in Gujarat as widespread protests against last week’s thrashing of four boys of the community in Una town continued for the second day in Saurashtra region.

Within 24 hours of seven youngsters attempting suicide, three persons consumed some poisonous substance in Bantva of Junagadh district. Authorities said Dilip Jesingbhai Parmar, Rasik Virabhai Vinjhuda and Dinesh Rajabhai Vegda were immediately rushed to the Civil Hospital in Junagadh.

Two youths tried to kill themselves in Gondal town, where five people had attempted suicide on Monday besides two in Jamkandorna, both of Rajkot district. They have been moved to Gondal Civil Hospital. Their names were not immediately available.

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Dalit protestors set on fire three state transport buses, including two in Dhoraji and one in Dhrol near Jamnagar, and vandalised a telephone exchange in Rajkot. A 2,000-strong mob also attacked two state transport buses in Amreli town in Saurashtra region.

In Amreli, the Dalits also took out a protest procession. Over a dozen people, including seven policemen, were injured in incidents of stone-throwing by the Dalits in Amreli.

The protests seem to have had no impact on the state government which has initiated an inquiry by the CID in the incident of the beating of four Dalit boys.

The government reiterated that it was committed to the protection of Dalits in the state and said it had already suspended four police officials and arrested nine persons in the case.

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Meanwhile, over 500 members of the Dalit community, including 40 members of the OBC Ekta Manch headed by Alpesh Thakore, were arrested from different parts of the state for indulging in violent protests.

Resorting to stone-throwing and sit-in, the protestors blocked traffic on the main highway to Rajkot and Jamnagar.

The state transport authority cancelled buses on several routes in Rajkot, Porbandar and Junagadh districts.

Large contingents of police and state reserve police have been deployed in several towns of Saurashtra region where shops and business establishments remained closed.



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