The spoke to six of the 18, with many of them saying that they took the extreme step only for attention to be drawn to the plight of Dalits in Gujarat“RECENTLY, four youths of Samadhiyala village of Una taluka were detained and thrashed and 15 of my Dalit brothers have since tried to commit suicide by drinking poisonous liquid… one lost his life. Because of the negligence of this government, today, on July 20, 2016, I am going to the Botad district collector’s office and will immolate myself between 1 pm and 2 pm. The state government will be responsible for this.”
That was an extract from a letter written in Gujarati and faxed by Pareshbhai Dayabhai Rathod, a labourer and father of three from Jaliya village of Bhavnagar, to the Botad district collector nearly two hours before he attempted immolation around 12.45 pm on Wednesday.
Rathod’s bid was foiled by the crowd that had gathered, including his family members. The 32-year-old Class VI dropout was one of the 18 Dalit men who tried to commit suicide since Monday to protest the flogging on July 11 of a group of Dalit youths at Una by gau rakshaks for skinning dead cattle.
Thespoke to six of the 18, with many of them saying that they took the extreme step only for attention to be drawn to the plight of Dalits in Gujarat. While Rathod was How else can we draw attention to Dalit plight: Suicide survivors undergoing treatment in Ahmedabad, the rest were recovering at the civil hospital in Rajkot.