Ahmedabad: The dead cow in the centre of a storm of protest over the brutal assault by ‘gau rakshaks’ on seven Dalit men who were found skinning the bovine was killed by a lion, a Gujarat CID (Crime) team has found, the Indian Express reported.
“During our probe, eye-witnesses told us that lions had killed a cow in Bediya village near Mota Samadhiyala and three other cows in surrounding villages during that night. The Dalit victims were called in the morning to dispose of the carcasses. Thus, it is clear that the victims were not involved in cow slaughter,” said CID Inspector General SS Trivedi, who is supervising the probe.
According to the report, the father of Vasarambhai Balubhai Sarvaiya, one of the Dalit victims of flogging, told the Indian Express that he got a call around 8 am from one Najabhai Ahir of Bediya village saying that a lion had killed his cow and he needed someone to dispose of the carcass.
When Vasaram, his brother Ramesh, cousin Ashok and relative Becharbhai picked up the carcass and began skinning it around 2 km from their village, a group of 30-35 men in motor cycles turned up and began abusing them. Soon they started assaulting the Dalits and left Balu, who rushed to the spot to save his sons, unconscious.
The CID is investigating who informed the gau rakshaks about the cow being skinned and who recorded the video of the men being flogged.
One policeman was suspended for allowing the gau rakshaks to leave after they dumped the Dalit men outside the Una police station.
Dalits communities, often burdened with the task of clearing carcasses of dead animals, dumped stinking animal corpses at government offices in protest and asked the ‘Gau Rakshaks’ to clean up the mess.
The incident at the Mota Samadhilya village of Gir Somnath triggered mass protests across the state against atrocities on Dalits who are often soft targets by self-appointed Hindu vigilantes groups looking to enforce cow protection by the rod.