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Violent protests in Saurashtra over Una incident

A videograb showing Dalits being beaten by a vigilante group.  

The Dalit unrest in Gujarat has claimed two lives. While a police constable died after being injured in pelting of stones by a mob in Amreli, another person, who consumed pesticide to protest atrocities on Scheduled Caste people died on Tuesday.

Up in arms against the brutal assault on Dalit community members in a village near Una on July 11, Dalits intensified its protest with eight persons attempting suicide on Tuesday in addition to those seven who attempted on Monday.

Over a dozen buses were torched and highways were blocked, forcing the state authorities to suspend bus services in Porbandar, Jamnagar and Junagadh while State Reserved Police (SRP) teams have been deployed in Rajkot, Jamnagar and other places in Saurashtra region.

In Amreli, a rally held by the Dalits turned violent as clashes between cops and protesters led to stone pelting in wich one head constable Pankaj Amrelia was critically injured and was taken to Rajkot where he died during treatment.

"Around 15 persons including protesters and policemen were injured in clashes in Amreli. One constable has died while others are under treatment at various hospitals," said a senior police official from Amreli.

Meanwhile, Hemant Solanki had consumed pesticide in Bhesan town and during treatment, he died.

In entire Saurashtra, situation was volatile with protests rallies planned by the enraged community member, who have given a bandh call in Junagadh and Gondal on Wednesday.

The Dalit unrest and subsequent violence triggered by hooliganism of local cow protection group in Saurashtra has caught the Anandiben Patel administration off guard, which woke up to its gravity only on Monday when the matter was raised by BSP in Rajya Sabha.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel appealed to the people of Gujarat and particularly the Dalit community members to maintain peace while assuring that the guilty would be punished.

"What has happened in inhuman and condemnable. The state government has ordered a CID (crime) probe and 16 persons have already been arrested," she said in a statement issued by the state government. Chief Minister will be visiting the victims and their family members in Una on Wednesday.

The government has also enhanced compensation to the victims from Rs one lakh to Rs four lakh.

Top Congress leader Ahmed Patel demanded judicial probe in the issue and lambasted the state authorities to "protest Dalits in Gujarat."

"Failure of authorities to protect Dalits in Gujarat is absolutely shocking. It is the Gujarat Model? Independent probe is the need of the hour," Mr Patel, who is Rajya Sabha member from the state, tweeted while reacting on the Dalit unrest in the state.

Besides Congress, Aam Admi Party (AAP), which has been trying to set up its base in the state ahead of the next year's assembly polls, announced that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kajriwal would visit the victims of violence by cow protection group on Friday.

Gujarat Congress has requested party vice president Rahul Gandhi to visit the state to meet the victims and also members of the Dalit community.

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Printable version | Jul 17, 2021 11:58:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Violent-protests-in-Saurashtra-over-Una-incident/article14499265.ece

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