Dalits Media Watch
Cops crack down on Dalits to break police station siege- Indian Express
Sleeping dalits in Sanand lathi-charged- DNA
Cops crack down on Dalits to break police station siege
After various rounds of failed meetings with the Dalit agitators that lasted more than 15 hours on Wednesday, the Ahmedabad district police resorted cracked down on the crowd camping at the Sanand police station at the dawn of Republic Day on Thursday.
The police have also lodged FIR against six of them, who were part of the group of Dalit villagers from Rethal camping at the police station with the body of 25-year-old youth, Atul Rathod, who was killed in an attack by a group of people belonging to a different community in the village.
The protesters were demanding immediate arrest of the main accused, identified as Yuvrajsinh Dodiya. After the crackdown on the protesters, however, the police arrested Dodiya.
At 3:30 am on Thursday, hundreds of policemen cordoned off the police station and dragged the villagers out of there. The body was sent to VS hospital in Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad Range Inspector General G S Malik said the police had to use force since the agitators would not listen to them or the district collector. He, however, said none were injured in the crackdown.
Later, the villagers collected Rathod's body from the hospital and cremated him in the village amid police deployment.
On Tuesday night, six Dalits were allegedly attacked by Dodiya and his friends in which Rathod died.
Dodiya was reportedly furious after Dalits in the village filed four FIRs against him under the Atrocity Act, alleging he had been beating them up over petty issues.
Sleeping dalits in Sanand lathi-charged
Baba Ramdev was not there. Nor was it the Ramlila Maidan of Delhi. But lathis were used - on the dalits of Sanand, who had experienced a similar fate when they were lathi-charged post midnight earlier this week, and the corpse which was placed in the police station to agitate against the ineffective cops, was seized.
The body was of Atul Rathod, a resident of Rethal village of Sanand Taluka. The police failed to act against the people allegedly responsible for his murder, which happened after a scuffle between the dalits and the Rajputs of the village on January 24. This led to anger and resentment among the people, and subsequent protest.
Several dalits were injured in the fracas and many were too scared to take part in the protest. The police lathi-charge was conducted at 3 am, in a grim irony, on Republic Day, when the country was gearing up to celebrate the biggest festival of democracy.
"We don't feel like citizens of this country anymore. How can we be when we are denied justice, and do not have the right to agitate?" Kamla Makwana, a dalit woman leader told DNA.
Describing the incident, Makwana said that the police swooped down on them and started beating them and took custody of the dead body. "They dispatched the corpse to the morgue of the Civil Hospital in an ambulance, which remained there till Republic day noon," she said.
"The body was later given back on the condition that it be immediately cremated, which we did," Atul Rathod, a relative of the victim said. The cremation was done in the afternoon.
"The lathi-charge was conducted when the agitators were asleep, rendering them helpless," Kantilal, a dalit leader told DNA. "It killed the agitation, and all of us were forced to return home," he added.
On behalf of
Dalits Media Watch Team
(An initiative of "Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre-PMARC")
Peoples Media Advocacy & Resource Centre- PMARC has been initiated with the support from group of senior journalists, social activists, academics and intellectuals from Dalit and civil society to advocate and facilitate Dalits issues in the mainstream media. To create proper & adequate space with the Dalit perspective in the mainstream media national/ International on Dalit issues is primary objective of the PMARC.