19 July, Ahmedabad
A policeman was killed by a stone-pelting mob in Amreli town of Saurashtra region of Gujarat while a youth in Junagadh district committed suicide as the protest against recent lynching of Dalit youth in Una town turned violent.
A Dalit youth committed suicide in Junagadh district by drinking acid. Since yesterday, as many as 12 youth have attempted suicide in Jamnagar and Rajkot districts since yesterday. All of them consumed poison and were admitted to hospital. As many as 500 protesters were arrested from different parts of Saurashtra for indulging in violence, arson, stone-pelting and vandalizing public transport buses.
A head constable, who received head injuries during heavy stone-pelting my an unruly mob in Amreli, died in hospital while six other policemen received varied degrees of injury. The suspension of four police officials and arrest of nine accused in the lynching case appear to have had no pacifying impact on the irate Dalit organizations who held dharnas, protest march, demonstrations and enforced shut down of shops and other establishments in over half a dozen towns of the Saurashtra region.
Appeal for peace and tranquillity by political leaders cutting across party lines also failed to pacify the protesting Dalits. OBC Ekta Manch president Alpesh Thakore, along with 40 others of the organization, were whisked away by the police from the premises of the Ahmedabad district collector where they were holding a dharna. They were later released.
Over 500 protesters, who were enforcing bandh in different towns of Saurashtra and disrupting vehicular traffic on highways and rural roads, were arrested. Dalit agitators set on fire three state road transport buses, including two in Dhoraji and one in Dhrol near Jamnagar, and vandalised a telephone exchange in Rajkot.
The assistant locomotive driver of a train received head injuries when a mob rained stones on the train in Rajkot.
As a precautionary measure, the state transport authority cancelled buses on several routes in Rajkot, Porbandar and Junagadh districts.
The agitators, by resorting to stone-throwing and sit-in dharna, caused traffic jam on the main highway to Rajkot and Jamnagar, with vehicles queuing up for over five km.A large contingent of police and state reserve police has been deployed in several towns of Saurashtra region.
Various Dalit organisations have called for Gujart Bandh tomorrow, even as several towns of Saurashtra observed bandh today.
Meanwhile, a delegation of state Congress lead by president Bharatsinh Solanki and leader of the opposition in the assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela presented a memorandum to governor O P Kohli condemning the government’s failure to prevent atrocities on Dalits.