Rajkot/Nagpur: At least 13 people have consumed poison and two were left dead after protests rocked the Saurashtra region of Gujarat in the past two days over the flogging of four dalit youth who were allegedly skinning a dead cow in Una on July 11.
While a youth succumbed to death after consuming poison, a policeman was killed in the protest by a mob which went on rampage over the incident.
“Head constable with local crime branch Pankaj Amreli was injured in stone-pelting in Amreli.
He died during treatment at Rajkot hospital. Ten other persons including protesters and policemen have been injured,” police said.
The police on its part, has made 16 arrests so far, booking the accused for under sections of attempt to murder, robbery and those under the Atrocities Act.
Dalits claim that the Una incident has only brought to the fore the simmering discontent within the community over repeated acts of discrimination and violence.
Startled – rather caught unawares – at the sudden spurt of protests, the Anandiben Patel government has swung into action. It has handed over investigations to the CID Crime and asked it to file a chargesheet within two months.
Besides, the government has announced a special court to try the case and has appointed a special public prosecutor too.
Both, the Congress as well as AAP, which is looking to strengthen its base in Gujarat ahead of the 2017 assembly polls, have jumped on to the bandwagon.
A delegation of Congress leaders met the Governor demanding action and AAP has been organising street protests across Saurashtra over the issue with an eye on the dalit votebank.
Sources also suggest that the real damage in the form of organising these protests is being done from within the ruling party by Anandiben Patel’s adversaries within the BJP.