Claiming that the state government had not kept any of its promises made to them, the Dalit victims of the 2016 Una atrocity case on Tuesday wrote to the President of India, seeking permission for mercy killing and also stated that one of them will start a fast-unto-death in Delhi on December 7.
Writing on behalf of his family, Vashram Sarvaiya stated in his letter that the state government had failed to keep promises the then chief minister Anandiben Patel had made to his family in the aftermath of the brutal assault on his family and relatives on July 11, 2016. “She had assured us that the state government will allot five acres land to each of victim, that victims will be given government jobs as per their qualification, that Mota Samadhiyala will be transformed into a developed village. Two years and four months have lapsed since the incident and the government has fulfilled none of its promises nor has it made any attempt to fulfil them,” Vashram wrote.
Vashram, his younger brother Ramesh, and their father Balu and mother Kunvar were among eight Dalits who were allegedly brutally assaulted by ‘gau rakshak’ (cow vigilantes) in Mota Samadhiyala village of Una taluka in Gir Somnath district on July 11, 2016. The assailants had accused the Dalits of slaughtering a cow but police investigation later concluded that they were merely skinning a carcass of a cow. Videos of the assault had gone viral and led to a national outcry after BSP chief Mayawati raised it on the floor of Rajya Sabha. The incident had also led to statewide protests by Dalits. Scores had attempted suicide and one of them had died.
Vashram said the attack had forced them out of their traditional occupation of skinning carcasses. “We have quit the occupation of selling animal hides and therefore are left with no other means of livelihood. It is possible we shall die due to hunger in future. We have represented our case repeatedly in writing and orally but the Gujarat government has not paid any attention to any of our problems,” he said.