Ahmedabad: As opposition parties united to express outrage in Parliament over the flogging and shaming of four Dalit men in Gujarat by self-styled cow protectors earlier this month, a video has emerged of another attack two months ago.
- Second video of cow vigilantes abusing Dalit workers in Gujarat
- 4 workers were earlier stripped, tied to car and brutally thrashed in Una
- Arrests were only made after massive protests from Opposition parties
In the video from May 22, some people are seen cowering in fear in a hutment and one of them is slapped. Piyush Mahida, 17, told NDTV that about 20 to 25 people confined him and eight other tannery workers for almost two hours in Gujarat's Rajula and abused them, accusing them of cow slaughter.
"We told them we collected the dead cow legally from a gau sewa sadan, but they didn't listen and beat us up," he said.
A case was registered, but six people were arrested for the incident only three days ago, after violent Dalit protests spread through the state over another video that went viral last week.
That video from July 11 showed the four men, also tannery workers, being stripped, tied to a car and being beaten mercilessly by "Gau Rakshaks (cow protectors)" in Una, not far from Rajula. It was shot by one of the attackers.
In Una's Shamdhyala village, which Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited today, Jeetu Sarvaiya, 22, said he will no more collect dead cows, a task traditionally handled by Dalits in this region. His older brother Veshram was among those who were beaten 10 days ago in Una, about 360 km from state capital Ahmedabad.
The family has been in the tannery trade for more than four decades now, earning a paltry 150 to 200 rupees for each dead cow they skin. "We can't continue with this fear even if it means struggling for survival... we face ostracism at every level, we are not even allowed to visit temples and now these attacks," Jeetu said.
The threat has the village headman, an upper caste Patel, worried about who will clear out dead animals in the village. "100 per cent it will impact us and with the help of the Gram Panchayat we have to look for other options," Praful Korat said.
On his visit today Rahul Gandhi lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from Gujarat and whose party, the BJP rules the state. "Modiji talks about the Gujarat model, but here, whoever opposes his ideology, is suppressed and attacked," he alleged.
Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had visited on Wednesday. In some relief for her government, there was no major incidence of violence on Thursday after days of road blockades, arson and suicide attempts by young Dalits.