Several Dalits returning from ”Dalit pride march” in Una were beaten up on Monday night by people of other communities in two villages near the city in Gir Somnath district of Saurashtra region in Gujarat.
Four policemen also received injuries in the clashes and they were hospitalised. Police had to open fire in the air and burst tear gas shells to disperse mobs.
Dalits, who were assaulted, allege that the police did little to protect them from their attackers. Twenty-six people have been arrested so far.
“We tried to disperse mobs who were clashing and pelting stones,” said a senior policeman.
One incident happened in Samter village where a majority of the accused of Una atrocity case live, while another incident occurred in Rameshwar Patiya.
“It was planned attack on us by upper caste people,” said Babubhai Sarvaiya, a resident of Una.
“Police fired six rounds in the air at Samter village to disperse the mob,” said Junagadh range IG Brajesh Jha after the clashes.
Huge Dalit gathering in Una
Thousands of Dalits who gathered at Una vowed to intensify their protest and launch a rail blockade agitation in the state if the government did not provide lands to them.
Amidst chanting of “Jai Bhim” and seeking “independence from atrocities and discrimination,” the Dalits celebrated Independence Day in Una where seven Dalits were mercilessly flogged for skinning a dead cow by local cow vigilante group on July 11, triggering a statewide protests and political mobilization ahead of the crucial assembly polls in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
On Monday, Radhika Vemula, mother of late Rohith who committed suicide at Hyderabad university hostel in January this year, and Balu Sarvaiya, father of one of the Una incident victims, jointly unfurled the tricolour in presence of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar at a school ground in costal town Una, almost 400 km from Ahmedabad.
A 10 day long Dalit Pride March culminated with members of the community and social activists holding posters and garlanded photos of Baba Saheb Ambedkar joined the March to mark a new era in Dalit movement amidst rise of gau rakshaks (cow protectors) who often thrash or flog Dalits and Muslims, accusing them of cow smuggling and slaughtering in Gujarat and many other states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.