The fault lines of Indian society have been exposed again, in a sad and depressing turn of events 6 Dalits who were devotees of Lord Ram and entered the same diety’s temple during a village ceremony were assaulted and harassed by 20 members of the ” upper caste ” on the grounds of them being ” impure. ” They were brutally attacked with sharp weapons in the following days of the ceremony sustaining serious injuries on head and neck.
The injured Dalits said that after they paid respects to Lord Ram in the temple during a pratisthan ceremony on the 20th of last month they were systematically harassed by members of the ” upper caste ” with their farms destroyed by letting cattle graze through it. On 26th at around 10 PM the first assault took place on Govind Vaghela.
Govind Vaghela said in a statement, “I left in an auto-rickshaw with my uncle Ganesh Vaghela. Upon reaching my farmland, I saw that the crops have been ransacked and a group of men were waiting underneath a tree, holding axes, sticks, rods in their hands. Led by the accused Kana Ahir of my village, they started assaulting us with weapons. ”
“They asked us as to why did we enter the Ram temple on October 20 when a ‘pratishthan’ ceremony was going on. They stole my cell phone and attacked the autorickshaw so that we couldn’t seek help and told me that they are going to the village to kill my father. My uncle and I received injuries on our heads and limbs and we were finally rescued by the police who took us to the hospital. ”
The 20 accused then reached the house of Jagabhai Vaghela (64), father of Govind at around 11:30 PM and assaulted him, his wife Baddhiben Vaghela, son Bhura Vaghela and nephew Hasmukh Vaghela. “The accused used casteist slurs… and we were hit on our head and limbs by the accused resulting in excessive bleeding,” said Jagabhai Vaghela.
State leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) condemned the incident calling for an end to this practice of discrimination. RSS Gujarat Prant Sanghchalak Bharat Patel asked RSS workers to create an environment in which people of all castes can access temples and sources of water without fear.