Dalits from across Gujarat will gather in Ahmedabad on Sunday to hold a protest rally against the public flogging of four Dalit youths by so-called “gau rakshaks” (cow protectors) in Mota Samadiyala of Una district earlier this month.
Meanwhile, a prominent Muslim body, Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind, has extended support to the rally. A large number of Muslims are also expected to take part in the protest.
Dalits in Gujarat have formed Una Dalit Atyachar Lada Smiti (Una Dalit Fight against Atrocities Committee) to launch an agitation against the ongoing caste violence against the members of lower castes.
Dalits on Sunday will also publicly announce their decision to boycott work, which is to remove the remains of deceased cows, as part of the protest.
In the light of the Una incident, members of Charamkar community, whose historically the ascribed profession is corpse disposal, in some parts of North Gujarat and Saurashtra, are already refusing to clear the carcasses of animals.
The strike by the community members has left the administration harried, particularly in Surendranagar city where the civic body staff has disposed of more than 80 dead cattle using their own resources during the last one week.
On July 11, four Dalit youths were publicly thrashed by cow vigilantes at Mota Samadhiyala village in Una taluka of Gir Somnath district when they were skinning a dead cow. In spite of the youths pleading them that they are from the skinning community, the cow vigilantes beat them up alleging that they were involved in cow slaughter.
The Una incident sparked a widespread public outcry, prompting Dalits across the state to act in unison against caste violence.
The public outcry even forced the state government to swing into action and set up a special court to hear the case. Chief minister Anandiben Patel, who visited the victims, promised to take stern action against those who are behind the Una incident.