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Dalit stir: 7 attempt suicide, bandh call gets mixed response

PTI
Published : Jul 21, 2016, 1:06 am IST
Updated : Jul 21, 2016, 1:06 am IST

The ongoing protests over the brutal assault on some dalits at Una town in Gujarat worsened on Wednesday as seven more youths attempted suicide with violence and arson spreading to various places in t

The ongoing protests over the brutal assault on some dalits at Una town in Gujarat worsened on Wednesday as seven more youths attempted suicide with violence and arson spreading to various places in the state.

The suicide bid incidents were reported from the districts of Rajkot, Porbandar, Botad and Gir-Somnath.

With the fresh incidents, the number of dalits who have attempted to kill themselves in the wake of the thrashing of seven youths by a vigilante group for allegedly slaughtering a cow on July 11 has gone up to 17.

Dalits had denied killing the animal, contending that they only skinned a dead cow.

In Dhoraji town of Rajkot district, three dalit youths on Tuesday consumed some a poisonous drink, following which they were rushed to a nearby hospital. The trio, identified as Yogesh Solanki, Vinod Solanki and Hitu Chauhan, were shifted to Junagadh civil hospital after their condition deteriorated.

In Gondal town in the district, one Mukesh Chavda consumed poison and was admitted to civil hospital.

In Bantwa town of Porbandar district, one Mahesh Rathod allegedly consumed poison and was rushed to district hospital, the police said.

In Una, the place where dalit youths were flogged in public view, sparking the protests, one Raju Parmar tried to kill himself by consuming poison. A dalit protester, Paresh Rathod, tried to immolate himself but was saved by the police in Botad town.

Meanwhile, the bandh by dalit outfits evoked a mixed response even as enraged community members took out rallies in towns and cities, blocking roads, damaging buses and even a train was stopped near Vadhvan in Surendranagar district. Some parts of Saurashtra and north Gujarat observed total bandh where incidents of stone-pelting, vandalisation of properties, damage to buses and road blockade were witnessed. The bandh was observed in Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Amreli and some small towns in Saurashtra, and also at Patan town and Aravalli district in north Gujarat.

Chief minister Anandiben Patel on Wednesday met the dalit victims’ family at Mota Samadhiyala village in Una tehsil of Gir-Somnath district, and promised all possible help. She told the family her government was taking strict action against the culprits. In view of the separate visits by Gandhi and Kejriwal, Patel told reporters that the issue should not be politicised.

Location: India, Gujarat, Rajkot