Courtesy Dalit Camera
Dalit Camera was witness to the dominant caste unrest in Samter village, Gir Somnath district where members of the dominant Darbar community attacked the local Dalit community which took out a bike rally in support of the Dalit Asmita Yatra. When the bike rally was passing through Samter villages, Darbars came out in large numbers and attacked the participants of the rally with stones and broken bottles. Many suffered injuries. When DC reached Samter, the police attempted to thwart attempts of documenting the unrest. Darbars had come on to the roads and were threatening the police with more violence. When they noticed the presence of the DC reporter, they attempted to charge at her. Thanks to a lucky mistake, the entire incident has been recorded. DC also managed to talk to a local who mentioned that the members of the dalit community passed through Samter and spoke in a ‘derogatory manner’ about ‘gaumata’ which ‘instigated’ the Darbar community thus leading to violence. Five kilometers away is Una, the town where gaurakshaks tied up dalits who were skinning the dead carcass of a cow to a pole and beat them up brutally alleging beef consumption. This incident sparked off massive protests across the State also leading to the formation of the the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti, a coalition to seek justice for the victims of the caste brutality at Una. The Samiti organised the Dalit Mahasammelan, a show of strength condemning growing Dalit atrocities in Gujarat on July 31st at Ahmedabad which saw a turnout of more than 20,000 dalits from across the State. Shortly after, the Dalit Asmita Yatra, a foot march from Ahmedabad to Una was flagged off demanding justice for the victims of the Una caste brutality.
During the course of the Yatra which is ongoing, pledges have been taken in more than 25 villages to give up the traditional caste based occupations of skinning or disposing cattle and cleaning sewer lines. Two days ahead of the culmination of the Dalit Asmita Yatra at Una, the local dominant and uppercaste communities seem to be charging up their ammunition to attack at the shortest notice. Irrespective, Subodh Parmar of the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti while condemning this attack on the Dalit community told DC with absolute conviction that they are undeterred. “The Dalit Asmita Yatra will continue and end in a public meeting at Una as planned. It is on the police and the administration to ensure that adequate arrangements are made for our protection.” As a historic event in the history of Gujarat waits to unfold at Una, only time will tell what turn the events will take. Jai Bhim.