Una Dalit victims, 3 others from village convert to Buddhism
The Dalit family whose seven members were publicly flogged by self-styled cow vigilantes nearly two years ago in Gujarat’s Una, converted to Buddhism on Sunday.
Nine members of Babu Sarvaiya’s family and three others from their village Mota Samdhiyala renounced Hinduism at a small function to “send a loud and clear message” that discrimination should end. They maintained that government apathy towards their community made them embrace Buddhism.
Babu and six other members of his family were thrashed for skinning a dead cow and later his three sons and a nephew were tied to a car, paraded half naked and flogged outside the Una police station on July 11, 2016.
“Followers of Hindu religion had thrashed us out of discrimination. That forced us to covert to Buddhism, which does not have caste system,” Vasram said. “The BJP government did not keep its promise of a fast-track trial in the case,” he added.
Villagers said 57 forms for conversion were submitted but only 12 took the ‘diksha’ (initiation vow) from monks of Porbander Buddh Vihar at the function in Mota Samdhiyala village.
As many as 44 people, including policemen, were booked for the flogging incident whose video went viral, triggering a nationwide outrage. Weeks later, a 10-day protest march from Ahmedabad to Una saw the rise of Mevani as a Dalit leader, who went on to become an Independent MLA from Vadgam