Six years of Una Agitation: Justice not in sight for Dalits

On 11 July 2016, seven members of a Dalit family were thrashed by cow vigilantes in Mota Samadhiyala village of Una municipality in Gir Somnath district in Gujarat. They were skinning a few dead cows when a group of vigilantes in two cars came and physically assaulted them.

Large scale protests were held in different parts of Gujarat the next day of the incident. Thousands of people blocked the state highway, occupied Trikon Baug and demanded justice for four people who were taken to Una, tied up in cars and beaten up with rods, pipes and knives by the cow vigilantes. The video of the assault was circulated on social media.

On August 4 2016, Mayawati, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, went to meet the victims in Ahmedabad. She addressed a public meeting and lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party for their crime. 

If BJP is really concerned about the interests of the Dalits, they should distribute the government farming land to the Dalits, asserted Mayawati. This way they can renounce this lowly caste job which ultimately becomes the reason for their oppression, she said. Similar policy was implemented during her tenure in Uttar Pradesh and changes were observed.

Similar incident was reported a week later from Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. The assaulters were members of Bajrang Dal.

Almost two years later, the survivors of the Una incident were attacked again by one of the cow vigilantes who was out on bail. Some of them had sought bail on the grounds of being students. 

Human Rights Watch writes, “Instead of taking prompt legal action against the vigilantes, many linked to extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the police, too often, have filed complaints against the assault victims, their relatives, and associates under laws banning cow slaughter (sic).”


Despite the Supreme Court asking centers and states to take all the necessary steps to take actions against this form of vigilantism, similar incidents from all across the nation have been reported.

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