Rajkot: Seven Dalit youngsters on Monday attempted to commit suicide in two separate incidents in Saurashtra the entire region erupted into a wave of protests against the thrashing of four Dalit boys last week on allegations of cow slaughter in Una town in Gir-Somnath district.
Officials said five Dalit persons tried to kill themselves by consuming a poisonous substance in Gondal taluka town and two in Jamkandorana town in Rajkot district.
Though they were immediately admitted to the Civil Hospital in Gondal, a large number of people who gathered there entered into arguments with the police.
The Dalits staged demonstrations outside the District Collector’s office demanding swift action against those involved in atrocities against the community. They also threatened to stop carrying away dead animals from villages and towns, which they traditionally did.
The angry community members also pelted stones at state transport buses. The police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the demonstrators.
“We have made adequate arrangements to control the situation and as of now things appear to be under control,” Superintendent of Police (Rajkot Rural) Antrip Sood said.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Surendranagar district too, where people brought in dead animals and refused to remove them from Mamlatdar’s Office compound in protest. They also took out a rally across the town against the Una incident.
Last week, a video of some men beating half-naked members of Dalit community went viral. The men, who claimed to be “cow protectors”, were shown beating the Dalit boys allegedly for skinning a dead cow.
Four days after the incident, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel expressed her grief over the incident through tweets on Monday that she was “deeply pained by the incident” and that it was “very unfortunate”.
She said her government was taking all necessary steps in the case and that eight of the accused have already been arrested, and one police inspector and three constables suspended.
“Our minister and parliamentary secretary have visited the spot. Compensation of Rs 1 lakh per person has been sanctioned. We will continue to extend all support to the victims. Gujarat government is fully committed to protection and development of weaker sections of society,” Anandiben said in a series of tweets.