Cow vigilantism

Cop killed as Dalit protests spill onto more parts of Gujarat

INDIA-RELIGION-CRIME-UNREST Members of the 'Bhartiya Dalit Panther Group' activist stage a protest in the Gujarat town of Una, in Ahmedabad on Tuesday | AFP
  • Hundreds of protesters gathered at Chital road locality in Amreli town this morning and started hurling stones at police who in turn fired two teargas shells to disperse them.

Protests by Dalits against brutal assault on fellow community members for allegedly killing a cow at Una last week spread to several parts of Gujarat on Tuesday, resulting in the death of a head constable.

He killed after a mob attacked police with stones, prompting security personnel to lob tear gas shells to disperse them in Amreli town.

“Head constable with local crime branch Pankaj Amreli was injured in stone-pelting in Amreli. He died during treatment at Rajkot hospital. Ten other persons including protesters and policemen have been injured," police said.

On Tuesday, three youths attempted to kill themselves by consuming poison at their residential society in Batwa town in Junagadh district.

After seven Dalit youths attempted suicide at Gondal and Jamkandorna in Rajkot district against the assault on Monday, several incidents of damage to state transport buses and of road blockades were reported from different parts of Saurashtra region across Junagadh, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Amreli districts since late on Monday night.

While a bus was torched in Dhoraji town of Rajkot district and several others damaged, protesters allegedly vandalised sheds for Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Rajkot late last night, police said.

"Dinesh Parmar (21), Dinesh Vegra (23) and Rasik Vinjura (40) gathered at Ambedkar Nagar society and consumed poison to protest against the beating (of Dalit youths in Una). We rushed them to Junagadh civil hospital for treatment," police said, adding their condition is stable.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at Chital road locality in Amreli town this morning and started hurling stones at police who in turn fired two teargas shells to disperse them.

In Surendranagar, agitators blocked a highway by putting carcass of a cow in the middle of the road, police said.

In the wake of the tense situation, the state road transport department on Tuesday suspended bus services from Porbandar and other parts as protesters continued to block roads.

Some persons hurled stones at Ahmedabad-Veraval train as it was entering Rajkot, injuring an assistant driver last night, police said.

"There was a report of BRTS buses being ransacked by the community members as several public transport vehicles were also ransacked," DCP, Rajkot, Karanraj Vaghela said.

He said that situation is under control and no untoward incident has taken place in Rajkot. Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had yesterday ordered a CID probe into the alleged assault on Dalit community members at Una in Gir-Somnath district and also announced setting up a special court for speedy trial of the case.

The incident, wherein Dalit youths were paraded and flogged for allegedly skinning a dead cow, caused nation-wide outrage after its video went viral.

The victims' contention was that they were skinning a dead cow and had not killed it.

Nine persons have been arrested so far in connection with the assault on Dalits, while three policemen have been suspended for dereliction of duty.

The issue also rocked Rajya Sabha, with the House being adjourned for a short period on the opening day of Monsoon session yesterday as BSP members trooped into the Well alleging atrocities on Dalits in BJP-ruled Gujarat.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress on Tuesday demanded a probe by a sitting High Court judge into the Una incident.

State Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki visited Rajkot civil hospital Tuesday to meet the Dalit youths who tried to kill themselves on Monday.

"We demand that the (Una) incident be probed by a sitting high court judge. We would meet the Governor to put forth demand," he told reporters.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted: "Failure of authorities to protect Dalits in Gujarat is absolutely shocking. Is it the Gujarat model? Independent probe is need of the hour".

Accusing the Congress of playing the "diversionary politics by provoking the sentiments", state BJP president Bharat Pandya said, "BJP was the first to condemn the (Una) incident. Elected MLAs, ministers, MPs, chairmen and organisation office-bearers had visited the affected families. The party has stood by the victims and government immediately extended financial aid to them."

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Topics : #Gujarat | #protest

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