Video of the incident that circulated was reminiscent of the Una flogging incident of 2016
A Dalit youth was allegedly stripped and beaten at a roadside eatery at Sabarmati Toll Naka in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on Sunday by a group of men while another was assaulted, The Indian Express reported.
The incident took place at around 7.30 PM when two Dalit youths PragneshParmar and Jayesh arrived at the restaurant. An argument ensued and the owner, along with other people, started beating the two youths with sticks. An FIR has been filed against Mahesh Thakore (owner) and Shankar Thakore under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under sections of the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act. While Mahesh has been arrested, the police are still looking for the other accused.
The video of the incident that was circulated, showed the youth being stripped and assaulted with sticks. One of the youths has been admitted to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on account of sustaining grave injuries.
Reacting sharply to the incident, Vadgam MLA JigneshMevani said that if the perpetrators were not arrested within 24 hours, Dalit activists would call for a bandh in the city.
“We cannot let the culture of mob lynching take over Gujarat. In the past six months, there have been 12-13 murders of Dalits in the state and neither the state home minister nor the director general of police is seen condemning these incidents. We will observe bandh in Ahmedabad if the culprits are not caught within 24 hours,” said Mevani.
Citing an earlier incident where a Dalit youth was murdered by men from the same Darbar caste, Mevani had written the following on his Facebook page:
It is to be noted that in 2018, as many as 1,545 cases were registered against the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, as compared to 897 cases registered across the state in 2003. However, the conviction rate in cases registered under the SC/ST Act is less than 5 percent in the three years from 2014-2016.
The incident is reminiscent of the chilling Una Dalit flogging that took place in 2016. At the time, more than 40 men from the upper caste Darbar community had assaulted seven members of the Sarvaiya family for skinning a dead cow in GirSomnath district’s Una town. Leather tanning and skinning was a part of their traditional occupation, but the assailants accused them of cow slaughter in the wake of rising cow-vigilantism. During the attack, four of the Sarvaiya brothers were stripped, tied to the back of a car and beaten with sticks and iron rods, while some of the attackers filmed the assault.
Today, 35 of the 43 accused in the Una case are out on bail. The Sarvaiya family was assaulted once again last year as they were gathering all essentials for their conversion to Buddhism.
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