‘Shocked and pained’: Rahul announces Rs 5 lakh aid for Dalit family in Una

  • Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times, Una (Gujarat)
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2016 00:44 IST
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visits Una on Thursday to meet the families of Dalit men who were beaten up by self-styled 'cow protectors'. (Arun Sharma/ HT photo)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met Balubhai Sarvaiya — the father of two Dalit boys who were beaten up by the members of Hindu vigilante group for skinning a dead cow recently — and announced a compensation of

`5 lakh for the victims.

Apparently launching his party’s campaign for the next year’s assembly elections, the Congress vice-president reached out to the family in nondescript village of Mota Samdhiyala in Una, taking the Dalit politics to national centre stage.

Accompanied by party general secretary Gurudas Kamat and former Union minister Kumari Selja, Gandhi had tea at the Dalit home before departing to nearby Rajkot district to visit victims recuperating at the district hospital.

Mota Samdhiyala village in itself offers a spectacle. Buses, trucks, jeeps and cars with beacon lights are lined along the roads leading up to the village. Small groups of villagers are seen confabulating at street corners or peeping down from vantage positions on the roof, as one politician after another arrives and leaves.

After CM Anandiben Patel visited Una on Wednesday, NCP leader Praful Patel headed to the village on Thursday, promising to fight for Dalit rights.

Newly nominated Union minister and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal are scheduled to arrive on Friday.

“It is a real life playing out of the Peepli Live,” quipped a local scribe, referring to a 2010 Bollywood satirical movie.

“Dalit or identity politics is not particularly evolved in Gujarat. But in today’s social media age, the geographical location of an incident is not important. This incident can have ramifications in Uttar Pradesh, where subaltern politics is more evolved”, Dalit activist Martin Mcwan said.

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