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Dalits becoming soft targets of cow vigilante groups

The attacks against the Dalits in Gujarat by the vigilante groups have increased recently, says the fact finding team after visiting Una town.

Cow vigilante groups sprouted in different part of the country after BJP and Sangh parivar created a political atmosphere conducive for it  are now  finding Dalits as their targets , says a fact finding team visited Una town in Gujarat.

According to the team visited the town the cow vigilantes are now showing bravado by targeting Dalit community.

The incident of beating up of seven Dalit youths in Mota Samadhilya village of Gir-Somnath district last week has triggered large scale protests across the state.

Seven  youths attempted suicide with violence and arson spreading to various places in the state.

An eight-member fact finding team, comprising Dalits from various city-based NGOs including Dalit Adhikar Manch, which went to the village found out that  the vigilante group members started beating Dalits from 9,30 am and continued  unabated till 1.30 PM.

The fact finding team said that in spite  the victims’ kin repeatedly calling police, the latter allegedly did not act.
Dalits are actually not involved in slaughter of cows, but are only doing their traditional business of leather, while they (vigilante groups) refrain from confronting those involved in slaughter, fact finding team alleged

There is a particular Dalit community that deals in the trade of leather.

In Gir-Somnath and surrounding districts of Gujarat these self-appointed cow protection committees have come up in the name of saving cows, said Kaushik Parmar, who led the fact finding team to the village. The committee members told that in recent months the vigilante groups attack against Dalits have been increasing.

“There have been at least three such incidents in the past two months in the area when the Dalit community members were beaten up by these so-called cow vigilante groups. All those are related to skinning of dead cows,” Kaushik Parmar told PTI

“Earlier, such cow vigilantes used to target those who are involved in cow slaughter. But since last seven to eight months, they have started targeting Dalit community members who are involved in leather business and are soft targets, to show off their bravado. It has been noticed that these groups in the past few months attacked Dalits when they were involved in skinning of dead cows,” he said.

The attacks by cow vigilante groups have resulted in large scale protest across Gujarat putting the BJP government on the defensive.  Dalits groups have observed bandh on Wednesday.

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