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Gau-Rakshaks attack Dalit Asmita Yatra

Background:

Dalit Asmita Yatra was blocked ahead of Samter village. Dominant castes Darbars dare Dalits to go past them. When the Dalit Camera and Two Circles’ team reached, they weren’t allowed to head forward. Their phones were almost snatched off. Dominant caste rage and pride is at an all time high. The Darbars are threatening and attacking the participants. Dalit Camera’s reporter Greeshama Rai and Two Circle’s reporter Amit Kumar were also attacked. Their bike was pushed off the road, luckily they have escaped with no major injuries. However the threat of violence against the local Dalits and those participating in the #ChaloUna march is very high.

This is happening just few kilometers away from Una, the town where gaurakshaks tied up dalits who were skinning the dead carcass of a cow to a pole and beat them up brutally alleging beef consumption. This incident sparked off massive protests across the State also leading to the formation of the the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti, a coalition to seek justice for the victims of the caste brutality at Una. The Samiti organised the Dalit Mahasammelan, a show of strength condemning growing Dalit atrocities in Gujarat on July 31st at Ahmedabad which saw a turnout of more than 20,000 dalits from across the State. Shortly after, the Dalit Asmita Yatra, a foot march from Ahmedabad to Una was flagged off demanding justice for the victims of the Una caste brutality. During the course of the Yatra which is ongoing, pledges have been taken in more than 25 villages to give up the traditional caste based occupations of skinning or disposing cattle and cleaning sewer lines. Two days ahead of the culmination of the Dalit Asmita Yatra at Una, the local dominant and uppercaste communities seem to be charging up their ammunition to attack at the shortest notice. Irrespective, Subodh Parmar of the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti while condemning this attack on the Dalit community told DC with absolute conviction that they are undeterred. “The Dalit Asmita Yatra will continue and end in a public meeting at Una as planned. It is on the police and the administration to ensure that adequate arrangements are made for our protection.”

Below is the transcription of an interview Dalit Camera did with one of the Gau-Rakshaks.

 

Interview with Darbar Community

DC: What is the reason for the roadblock you are staging ? What are you angry about ?

G: It is like this – in the rally by the dalit community which happened here (Samter) yesterday, dalits started making offensive statements about Hindu gods and goddesses. They were making comments ‘if cow is your mother, what about your father ?’ etc. which are very offensive to us. Their language, and way of talking has changed completely from their initial protest. They are now in a fighting mode. From protest to fighting mode to making offensive statements about Hindu gods and goddesses, they have crossed all limits. That is why we are standing here in protest.

Tomorrow when their rally will enter in Una, .. well their purpose is completely different. The dalit community is not fighting for itself. Nothing like that. They are being made to fight by other forces. People with political interests have entered now and have occupied themselves around them.. What they say is..

DC: Other parties, such as.. ?

G: Other parties like .. well, you know BJP is here. AAP wants to establish itself here. Congress is here. So actually this is nothing with respect to dalit community .. it is all a political gimmick. Do you understand ?

Their language, and way of talking has changed completely from their initial protest. They are now in a fighting mode. From protest to fighting mode to making offensive statements about Hindu gods and goddesses, they have crossed all limits.

DC: Ok. Let us ask you — if there is a problem in the Dalit community, what happened with the Dalits ..

G: See, we are with the Dalits to a certain extent. They are saying they will kill 50 people. See if 50 people beat 4, none of the 4 will return alive.. I am telling you. See nobody touched them. Not one of them lost a hair or has a broken limb. As a political stunt it was ok for the first 24 hours. Now that the political parties have come by their side, it is an entirely different issue now!

DC: What was the issue at that time, then ?

G: The video which was made on 11th, when we went to that rikshaw, we found pieces of beef and a weighing machine. If you were asked to skin the dead cow, what was beef doing there ? What was the weighing machine doing there ? The religious sentiments that you have stoked, nobody is talking about it now.

DC: Why is it happening that your points have not been put forward at all so long ?

G: Politics. All big party leaders have come now. Everyone is eyeing the 2017 elections. “We want to get into this”.. That is the reason. There is no other issue. There have been much much more violent things that have happened in Gujarat. Nothing has been resolved till now. And the second point is..

DC: One moment, please.. The Dalit communities are arguing that beef has been consumed for many many years..

G: Eating Beef is not allowed in Gujarat state (government). It is prohibited. You can skin a dead cow. But you cannot eat Beef. Do you understand ? Aren’t religious sentiments involved here ? There was meat and weighing machine in the rickshaw. Why was it there ? It means you have been selling beef. That is final. Now, as a political stunt, the issue is altogether something else.

DC: So, will you stop the Dalit rally into Una tomorrow ?

G: Of course, we will stop it! Their purpose is something else .. nothing to do with the Dalit community per se. Everyone is eyeing his own political interests. Everyone wants to become a leader. If I am in it, my name will get in. There have been much more deadly and violent atrocities on Dalit communities in the past.. Where were they ? Were they sleeping ? This atrocity happened on 11th. The Dalit community is up about it on 18th.. What were they doing for the 7 days in between ?

There have been much more deadly and violent atrocities on Dalit communities in the past.. Where were they ? Were they sleeping ? This atrocity happened on 11th. The Dalit community is up about it on 18th.. What were they doing for the 7 days in between ?

DC: So, you will not let the rally happen tomorrow ?

G: Of course, we will not let it happen!

[DC asks if it can  use the interviewee’s name. The interviewee says he would prefer if it is kept anonymous]

G: One more thing. The police is into the fray now. [someone in the crowd shouts don’t tell anything about/against the police – the interviewee responds that he is not saying anything against the police]. IPC 307 has been enforced. Loot section has been enforced. And whatsoever has been enforced.. My question is when there is political pressure will you succumb like this ?

Orginal Article appeared at Dalitcamera – http://www.dalitcamera.com/gau-rakshaks-attack-dalit-asmita-yatra/

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Comment (1)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    Despite threats from gau rakshaks, the ‘yatra’ continued. That is a great achievement. The interview indicates aggressiveness among the cow protectors. It is true that other parties want to take political advantage from the incident but, who are responsible? Cow protectors themselves. Dalits and Muslims are not responsible. They have been humiliated and hence they are protesting the injustice to them done by upper castes all these centuries.

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