The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Gujarat unit, has submitted a memorandum to National Human Rights Commission chairman HL Dattu on incidents of atrocities on Dalits in the state in the wake of the recent Una incident, in which four Dalit youths, tied with an SUV, were beaten up with iron rods. The memorandum has been signed by PUCL (Gujarat) general secretary Gautam Taker. Text:
I submit this memorandum before your honour in the context of incidents of atrocities committed over some seven No. of Dalit youths of Samadhiyala (Una) town in Gir – Somnath district of Gujarat, on 11th July 2016 in presence of police and citizens.
Incidentally, while the State and the Nation are celebrating 125th birth centenary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the dreadful incident of merciless beating, in broad day light, by tying-up the Dalits has occurred at the above place. The incident was in connection with slicing off leather from the carcass of a cow. This type of activity has been normally practiced in Gujarat over the generations, by some Dalit members, as a source of livelihood or a means of subsistence.
The so-called proponents of non-violence to any animals, and other anti-social elements under the guise of killing of cows, had misbehaved and severely beaten up in open, this Dalit member slicing leather off a dead cow. It is clearly emerging as if such elements have no fear at all, of the rule of the law. These elements (Jeev Daya Premi!) have become rampantly lawless either in the guise of non-violence to creatures or under any other pretext.
Instead of reduction in the incidence of excesses over Dalits in Gujarat, it has been on the rise. On an average, in Gujarat, every year there are some 20 incidents of killing of Dalits and about 50 incidents of rape on dalit women. As per statistics given by the government, during the years 2010 to 2015 there have been incidents of 130 murders of dalits and 336 cases of rapes on dalit women. A total No. of 5,628 cases of atrocities / excesses on dalits have been registered.
During the month of September in the year 2012, some three Dalit youths lost their lives against the police firing in Thangadh town of Surendranagar district. For this, the Gujarat Government had instituted a high level Police Inquiry, whose report has not been tabled by the Government in the Legislative Assembly as yet, and dalits have not been administered due justice till this date.
For inquiring into the above incident at Samadhiyala (Una), Gujarat Government has taken a decision to institute an inquiry through the C.I.D. Crime. By such an inquiry, will the truth really come out? How the victims shall get justice if the role of police is being inquired into by its own sister department?
On the incident of 11th July, Gujarat Government has taken steps after a lapse or delay of six days i.e. on 17th July. Due to this delay, criminals get free hand and go scot-free. What benefits shall the victims get out of the inquiry by the C.I.D. Crime? You – (NHRC), are very well aware of role of the Gujarat Government during the riots in the year 2002. In that also, ultimately the NHRC had to intervene to secure justice for the victims and the aggrieved. Due to this, victims of the 2002 riots could indeed, to some extent, get some justice.
The intention of the Gujarat Government does not appear to be fair and true and alludes to be a face saving tactic. Only when there is thorough probe by your honorable Commission, then only the Dalits can hope to secure justice and relief. The dalits of Gujarat look forward to impartial, just and fair investigation directly by the team headed by the Hon’ble NHRC.
We shall feel much obliged if your honor could give an opportunity for a personal meeting to briefly apprise on the above matter.
Appoint Judicial Commission to inquire into Una incident
About 100 prominent citizens of Gujarat in a signed representation to the Gujarat governor on behalf of the Movement for Secular Democracy (MSD) have sought institution of a judicial commission for investigation in the matter of atrocities on Dalits in Una of Gir-Somnath District. Those who have signed the representation include MSD convener Prakash N Shah, MSD secretary Dwarikanath Rath, veteran Gujarat High Court advocate Girishbhai Patel, danseuse Dr Mallika Sarabhai, top academic Prof Ghanshyam Shah, former attorney general Soli Sorabji, former vice chancellor Prof Upendra Baxi, and Gujarat Vidyapeeth vice chancellor Dr Anamik Shah. Text:
It is a matter of pain that when the entire nation is celebrating 125th Birth anniversary of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Gujarat has created a precedent of atrocities on Dalits!
We strongly condemn the ghastly incident of atrocities on four Dalit youth in Una of Geer Somnath district. We demand to immediately appoint Judicial Commission for the investigation of the entire matter.
We would also like to draw your attention towards the fact that there has been continuous rise in the incidents of atrocities on dalits in Gujarat. We place below the statistics of atrocities on dalits according to a report:
Further, there has been 20 cases of killings of dalits as well as 50 cases of rapes on dalit women every year in Gujarat. These statistics are quiet shocking and very serious.
Under the circumstances, We, on behalf of Movement for Secular Democracy, demand to appoint Judicial Commission to investigate the incident of Una. Along with that we also demand:
- The Chief of the Police and Administration of those districts which are defamed for atrocities on women should be punished.
- The Police administration should be made free from any kind of caste discrimination, prejudices, etc.
- Sensitise Police and administration towards the socially underpriviledged section of the society.