Ahmedabad: Thirty-three Dalits of Gitapur village in Ahmedabad district have gone a fast-unto-death protest outside the mamlatdar’s office, demanding immediate action on attacks on members of the community.
The protestors said they want the attackers to be tried under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act—commonly known as the Atrocities Act—and wanted police protection to be provided with immediate effect. They also said they want frivolous cases filed against Dalits withdrawn.
The protestors said they have sent their grievances to the administration in the past, but have been ignored every time. The 33 protestors—16 men and 17 women, accompanied by eight children—also said Dalits are not allowed to draw water or purchase foodgrains, milk and other necessary items in their village, which falls in the Detroj-Rampura taluka, and have not been provided proper housing that was promised to them, because of which they live in homes without electricity and water connections.
Dalit rights activist and newly elected legislator Jignesh Mevani and members of his Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch met the protestors on Thursday night.
“This is the Gujarat model, in which Dalits have to walk for 1.5km for water, have to go on strike for residential plots. They are citizens of India. Why is the government keeping mum on the matter?” said Kaushik Parmar, co-convenor of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch.
Parmar said they met the villagers to discuss their problems. “Government officials are not granting plots to Dalits, but other communities are being given land. Why this injustice towards Dalits? This is the third day (of the protestors’ fast), yet there has been no action from the government,” he said.