Ahemedabad, July 20: Una city in Gir Somnath district of Saurashtra region in Gujarat is witnessing a spate of sporadic protests and violence, allegedly after killing of a cow by Dalit community members.
So far, nine people have arrested in this connection and the state's Chief Minister Anandiben Patel visited Mota Samaliyala village, to take stock of the situation and to meet the victims. Let us know all about the present controversy prevailing in Una.
What happened in Una?
On July 11, some persons, believed to be 'gau-rakshaks', publicly beaten four partially-stripped Dalit youths at Una town. The victims' contention was that they were just skinning a dead cow and had not killed it, whereas the accused alleged these youths were involved in cow slaughter. The incident had come to light after the purported video went viral on social media.
On Tuesday, July 19, a policeman was killed in mob violence and a Dalit committed suicide, as protests against last week's thrashing of four youths snowballed across Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
The Dalit who died during the day was among the five persons from the community who tried to take their own lives in separate incidents in Gujarat.
Dalits call for bandh
The bandh call given by Dalit organisations to protest the brutal thrashing of the community youths in Una town got a mixed response today.
Some parts of Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions observed total bandh where sporadic incidents of stone-pelting and road blockade were witnessed.
The bandh was largely observed in Amreli and Junagadh cities of Saurashtra region, including some other small towns like Dhoraji and Dhrol with some incidents of damaging buses and stone-pelting reported during protest.
The protest call crippled life in Junagadh and Amreli as schools, colleges and business establishment observed total bandh.
Some protesters damaged a state transport bus at a depot in Junagadh, police said. Rajkot also witnessed street protests during the bandh following which around 50 people were detained by police.
However, the bandh call was not followed in the town and the situation was normal.
In Patan, a group of protesters pelted stones at a movie theatre, forcing its closure. They also forced road blockade in the town, police said.
As a precautionary measure, authorities have decided to shut down several routes of state transport buses due to the bandh call and protest by Dalit Panthers and other community organisations.
In Ahmedabad, the protesters tried to enforce bandh in some pockets, like Chandkheda and Kalapinagar, where they were seen forcing markets and schools to shut down.
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel- "It was indeed a despicable act, and no community can tolerate it. Local police was also at fault, as they did not acted swiftly. Apart from arresting the culprits, we have also suspended such policemen. State government will provide a compensation of Rs 4 lakhs to each of the victims."
"I have asked the authorities to take strict action to see that such incidents do not happen again. I appeal people to control their anger and emotions. I appeal youths to stay away from violence. I also request youths not to take any extreme step."
Congress President Sonia Gandhi- "We will raise Una incident issue in Parliament. The government has snatched rights of Adivasis, Dalits and traditional forest dwellers under Forest Rights Act and weakening environment rights."
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will visit Una tomorrow (Thursday, July 21).
Congress state unit chief Bharatsinh Solanki and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela today met Governor O P Kohli and handed over a memorandum seeking a judicial probe into the incident.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal- "Atrocities against dalits n minorities have increased sharply during BJP regime." Kejriwal is also likely to visit the place on Friday.
Manish Sisodia- "Have ordered magistrate inquiry in AAP activist suicide case in Narela. DM north will do the inquiry."
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee- "Incident in Una is organised crime against Dalits. I urge Central Govt to treat Dalits with care & give full protection.This is unacceptable."
(With agency inputs)