Five attempt suicide in Rajkot to protest inaction in Dalit atrocity case, held

  • Amit Cowper, Hindustan Times, Gandhinagar
  • Updated: Jul 19, 2016 09:27 IST
A video purportedly recorded by the attackers and shared online shows four Dalit men chained to a car and being beaten with iron rods. (Screenshot from video)

Five people who attempted suicide in Rajkot district’s Gondal town demanding action against Shiv Sena members who allegedly thrashed four Dalit youths for skinning dead cattle were arrested by Gujarat police on Monday.

The five protesters, all residents of Gondal, tried to consume phenyl near an Ambedkar statue in the city, where the police anticipating their move following their threat, arrested and admitted them to a government hospital.

One of the five, Anil Madhad, is the Congress councillor in Gondal municipality, ruled by the BJP.

“Fortunately, all five are out of danger. We appeal to the SC community to not take extreme steps like this. The government is with the SC community and we are taking appropriate steps regarding any atrocities in the state,” said Ramanlal Vora, the state’s social justice and empowerment minister.

The police have so far arrested eight people, including two who were arrested on Sunday, and suspended four police officers for dereliction of duty in the Gir-Somnath case. The incident had sparked a huge outcry among Gujarat’s scheduled caste community.

The four Dalit youths were thrashed by a group claiming to be from the Shiv Sena in four Dalit youths in Gir-Somnath district’s Samadhiyala village on July 11 for allegedly slaughtering a cow. The youth explained they were skinning dead animals, as was their traditional vocation, but they were beaten with iron rods and dragged for half a kilometre behind an SUV by the assailants.

A video clip of the incident was shared widely on social media, sparking outrage across the country.

Read | Four Dalit men stripped, beaten by cow protection vigilantes in Gujarat

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