Gujarat dalits refuse to shift youth’s body from police station
A white Maruti Van entered Sanand police station on Wednesday morning and two youths got out of the vehicle. They brought out the body of Atul Rathod, the 25-year-old dalit youth who was killed on Tuesday in Rethal village of Sanand taluka, allegedly in a fight with a group of darbar youths.
A large number of women, weeping and wailing, entered the police station premises soon after and they were followed by a large number of dalits, all angry with the functioning of the Sanand police.
They placed Atul’s body outside the officers’ room at the police station which was now thronged by more than 200 dalits, shouting slogans against the police department and demanding the arrest of the culprits.
The angry people started shouting slogans against the police, which forced the officers to seek shelter in their rooms for some time. Nothing could be more illustrative of the Sanand police’s failure to act against the criminals in the area than the officers’ attempt to hide in their rooms.
When some dalit youths wanted to ransack the police station, some elderly people of the community tried to keep them calm and non-violent in their agitation against police inaction.
A flurry of meetings followed at the police station. Dalit leaders of Rethal village had a meeting with DySP, RK Patel. This was followed by a meeting between the leaders and the superintendent of police, Ahmedabad rural, RR Bhagat.
Eventually, Ahmedabad collector Vijay Nehra arrived and held a meeting with the Dalit leaders at the police station. His meeting was followed by a meeting between the leaders and the IGP, Ahmedabad range, GS Malik.
There was just one thing common to all these meetings. Every officer tried to persuade the leaders to remove the dead body from the police station.
But the Dalit leaders demanded two things. First, arrest the people who had killed Atul and, secondly, suspend the police officers who had failed to act responsibly during the incident.
The dalits allege that the police had done absolutely nothing to arrest the culprits. "They did not even bother to raid their houses or ask their relatives about their whereabouts. They want us to remove Atul's body but don't want to arrest the people who killed him," alleged Vashram Rathod, the paternal uncle of the deceased. Meanwhile, dalit youths brought two slabs of ice and put the body on it. Family members, relatives, friends and well-wishers stood around weeping and mourning the whole day. The family members also attended the meetings with different officers in the police inspector's office.
The dalits also demanded the suspension of police officers who had failed to respond following the clash between dalits and darbars on Tuesday in which Atul Rathod was killed. The three people named accused in the case are Yuvrajsinh Rajput, Bharatsinh Rajput and Jabbarsinh Rajput.
The people injured in the incident are Valji Rathod, Manu Rathod, Ramesh Cheu, Khodabhai and Ishwar Khoda. Talking to DNA, a Dalit and victim of the caste system, Shankar Shenva, said Dalits from several villages had now united against the atrocities of the upper caste people in the taluka. They had demanded prompt police action against those responsible for atrocities on dalits.