Family of Balu Sarvaiya, who was one of the victims of the flogging, skin dead animals for a living.(Arun Sharma / Hindustan Times)
Family of Balu Sarvaiya, who was one of the victims of the flogging, skin dead animals for a living.(Arun Sharma / Hindustan Times)

‘We do not even talk now’: Dalits- upper castes rift widens after Una incident

After seven of a family were flogged by gau rakshaks for skinning a dead cow last year, the divide between Dalits and upper castes has increased in the region with each group blaming the other for snapping ties.
By Hiral Dave | Hindustan Times, Una (Gujarat)
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2017 06:05 PM IST

Nitin Kothari regrets the phone call he made a year ago. Having spotted a young man holding a sharp tool and the severed head of a cow by the side of the road in Una, he rang up a friend to report the uncommon sight.

The call led to a nationwide conflagration. The friend spread the word and soon ‘gau rakshaks’ descended on the spot and seized the Dalit man and his associates with the cow carcass. They were then brutally flogged, the video of which went viral and catapulted Una to the heart of a raging debate over rising atrocities against Dalits in the country.

It was July 11, 2016.

Exactly a year later, Kothari, who runs a computer institute, wishes he never made the phone call.

He is entangled in a legal maze on being charged with involvement with the assault. But the bigger concern for him is how the incident deepened social divisions between Dalits and non-Dalits in the Gujarat town in Gir Somnath district and affected his business.

“Of the 1,200 students at my Global Computer Institute a year back, 50% to 60% belonged to the scheduled caste. Today, I do not have a single SC student,” Kothari, the accused number 1 in the police charge-sheet, told HT.

Though charged with 24 sections of the Indian Penal Code for the assault that day, Kothari is out on bail.

The divide created by the attack has not spared cow protection outfits as well.

Rahul Parmar, who stands accused of assault that day, said a Dalit member, Lalji Maru, quit his Gir Somnath Gau Rakshak Dal a day after the incident.

“We do not even talk now. There is a suspicion brewing against each other. It is not about untouchability, but the distrust that the incident has caused. Both believe that the other may not have good intentions.”

Looking Back

Victims were Balu Sarvaiya, his wife Kumari Behan, daughter Vinita Sarvaiya, his two sons, Ramesh Sarvaiya, and Veshram Sarvaiya, , and two nephews Ashok and Bechar Sarvaiya.

All were residents of Mota Samadhiyala village, 20 km from Una town in Gir Somnath district of South Gujarat.

As many as 43, including four policemen, were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Of the arrested, 14 have been released on bail till now.

Parmar, an OBC and a carpenter by profession, was arrested and charged with attempted murder as he made calls to other gau rakshaks. He too got bail after three months.

Local Dalit leaders such as Keval Rathod, who first mobilised the community and got the case registered against gau rakshaks, said the social divide between Dalits and upper castes in Una had never been so wide. And it is Dalits who suffer financially when the former chose not give them work.

“After Dalits’ outrage against the flogging, many of them no longer get work at farms owned by upper-caste people. The incident has left a deeper scar on the collective social psyche,” said Rathod. “While atrocities continue to happen, the social interaction in the past one year has hit rock-bottom.”

Una-based lawyer AN Sola said: “Dalits of Una were always unaware of their rights. But amidst atrocities, they still got employment. Now even jobs are gone.”

For snapping social ties, each group blames the other. “We had a Dalit domestic help. She discontinued working at our house. She told me that her community had put pressure on her not to work at the home of one of the accused,” Kothari said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Gandhi’s 16-feet high bronze statue in a meditating posture, sculpted by Ram Sutar, was unveiled by then President Shanker Dayal Sharma on October 2, 1993.(ANI Photo)
Gandhi’s 16-feet high bronze statue in a meditating posture, sculpted by Ram Sutar, was unveiled by then President Shanker Dayal Sharma on October 2, 1993.(ANI Photo)

New Parliament building: Gandhi statue hurriedly shifted, move raises eyebrows

PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:55 AM IST
Initial plan was to do so during the one-month gap between the first and the second part of Budget Session that begins on Jan 29
Close
HT Image
HT Image

CBI arrests two of its officials in Bribery case

By Neeraj Chauhan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:15 AM IST
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested its deputy superintendent of police (DSP), R K Rishi, inspector Kapil Dhankad and an advocate Manohar Malik in connection with its probe into a “bribes-for-relief” scandal in the agency, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday
Close
HT Image
HT Image

SC irked over criticism of farm committee picks

PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:15 AM IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday strongly defended its choice of members for the committee that will weigh in on the contentious farm laws, and cautioned critics against attributing motives to the court or “maligning” members of the panel just because they had in the past come out in favour of these legislation aimed at opening up farm markets
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Electoral rolls, not NRC, to determine voters in Assam: EC

PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:14 AM IST
GUWAHATI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) made it clear on Wednesday that those living in Assam whose names are missing from the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), but are listed in the electoral rolls can vote in the assembly elections due in April-May this year
Close
HT Image
HT Image

‘Goli Maaro’ chants at BJP leader Suvendu’s rally in Bengal

UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:14 AM IST
Kolkata Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday allegedly raised the controversial “goli maaro” slogan at a roadshow in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, a day after a similar slogan was raised by supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress
Close
HT Image
HT Image

After cabinet expansion, dissent brews in Karnataka BJP

By Sharan Poovanna
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:13 AM IST
Bengaluru: Troubles are mounting for Karnataka chief minister B
Close
HT Image
HT Image

One in 3 new Covid cases recorded in Kerala

PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:11 AM IST
Thiruvananthapuram: More than one in every three new Covid-19 cases recorded in India over the last week have come from Kerala, a state that is defying the national trend of falling infections and has been the biggest outbreak centre in the country since late October
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Covaxin recipients to be monitored for three months after 2nd dose

UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:10 AM IST
New Delhi Covaxin recipients will be monitored for three months after getting the 2nd dose for any adverse reactions, according to a detailed plan released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in an attempt to dispel safety concerns about the vaccine whose efficacy data isn’t publicly known
Close
HT Image
HT Image

SA, Brazil strains raise new fears on vaccines, immunity

By Binayak Dasgupta, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:09 AM IST
Mutations of the Sars-Cov-2 virus found in South Africa and Brazil have begun worrying authorities and scientists who say that these – they are distinct from the new variant first found in the UK – could trigger more re-infections, even reduce vaccine efficacy, though more tests are underway
Close
Loyalists and detractors alike await the release of Sasikala, who once kept the ruling AIADMK under her thumb.(HT PHOTO)
Loyalists and detractors alike await the release of Sasikala, who once kept the ruling AIADMK under her thumb.(HT PHOTO)

Sasikala hospitalised in Bengaluru week before her release from prison

PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:08 AM IST
  • Sixty-three-year-old Sasikala who also suffers from hypertension, diabetes and hypothyroidism was admitted to hospital with cough and fever.
Close
An NGO distributed notebooks with Veer Savarkar’s photo and brief sketch on his life among students in the school in Malwasa in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh.(HT Photos)
An NGO distributed notebooks with Veer Savarkar’s photo and brief sketch on his life among students in the school in Malwasa in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh.(HT Photos)

Savarkar portrait in UP Legislative Council picture gallery sparks row

PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 11:50 PM IST
  • The Legislative Council chairman has asked the principal secretary to submit a report on the issue within seven days after a Congress member objected to the installation of Savarkar’s portrait in the Council picture gallery.
Close
The deceased were identified as Gajpal Singh, 28, a resident of Pali district in Rajasthan and pilot Balchnad Dangi, a resident of Rajgarh district of MP. (FILE PHOTO) (Image used for representation).(Representaional Photo)
The deceased were identified as Gajpal Singh, 28, a resident of Pali district in Rajasthan and pilot Balchnad Dangi, a resident of Rajgarh district of MP. (FILE PHOTO) (Image used for representation).(Representaional Photo)

Two killed in paragliding accident in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa

PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 11:38 PM IST
  • A magisterial inquiry has been ordered in the matter, said the collector. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also expressed his condolence after hearing about the accident.
Close
Police line tape. Crime scene investigation. Forensic science.(Getty Images)
Police line tape. Crime scene investigation. Forensic science.(Getty Images)

3 women in shelter home in Chhattisgarh accuse staff of harassment

PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 11:32 PM IST
  • Police have not registered any case in this regard and said that they will record the women's statement on Thursday before launching an investigation.
Close
**EDS: VIDEO GRAB FROM OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL OF PM MODI** New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually launches pan-India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive, in New Delhi, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (PTI Photo)(PTI01_16_2021_000040B)(PTI)
**EDS: VIDEO GRAB FROM OFFICIAL YOUTUBE CHANNEL OF PM MODI** New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually launches pan-India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive, in New Delhi, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (PTI Photo)(PTI01_16_2021_000040B)(PTI)

'Will work with President Biden to strengthen India-US partnership': PM Modi

PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 11:16 PM IST
  • The Biden administration has signalled that it sees China as the main challenge and that it will work to enhance the partnership with India, including working together to ensure an open and secure Indo-Pacific.
Close
Arrested computer hacker and cyber criminal with handcuffs, close up of hands(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Arrested computer hacker and cyber criminal with handcuffs, close up of hands(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Ghaziabad court awards death penalty to man for toddler’s rape and murder

UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 11:05 PM IST
  • The police filed the charge sheet in the case on December 16, 2020 and charges were framed on December 24, 2020
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP