Ahmedabad: Protests escalated in Gujarat over the brutal thrashing of the community youths in Una town even as incidents of violence were reported from several places across the state.
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. The bandh called by Dalit outfits in Gujarat over the Dalit-thrashing issue in Una town evoked mixed response.
Chief Minister Anandiben Patel visited the victims at Rajkot hospital and met their family members at Una, assuring them that stringent action will be taken against the culprits.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will be visiting Una tomorrow and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday. The Dalit outfits kept up protests across the state against the assault of some community members on July 11 for allegedly skinning a cow at Una in Gir-Somnath 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. In Porbandar, a private bus was torched, while several other public transport buses were damaged in many parts of Saurashtra region.
As a precautionary measure, the authorities shut down several routes of state transport buses due to the bandh call and protest by Dalit Panthers and other community outfits. The protesters blocked several State and some National Highways in Saurashtra.
A goods train was stopped by protesters near Vadhvan in Surendranagar district on Bhavnagar-Surendranagar route. Later, the agitators were dispersed by the police.
Anandiben visited Mota Samaliyala village in Una, where the alleged incident of beating of seven Dalits had taken place and met family members of the victims. She told them that the government has taken all measures to ensure that the victims get justice.
“The scene of beating of Dalits will be disturbing to anyone who witnesses it. The beating, in the manner it took place, is not becoming of any civilised society. The state government has done everything possible, including arrest of the accused, and (facilitating) hospitalisation of the injured,” Patel said after the meeting.