Rahul Gandhi reaches Gujarat as protests continue over attack on Dalits

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Indian National Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi (file photo)

Ahmedabad: Protests continued in some parts of Gujarat on Thursday over the brutal thrashing of Dalits at a village in Una town of Gir Somnath district, even as many political leaders met the victims and their families.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reached Mota Samadhiyala village in Una to meet families of the victims.

Incidents of violence were reported late last night in Rajkot and Mehsana, while protest marches were today held in Limbdi and Surat, police said.

In Rajkot, a BRTS bus stand was damaged, while a state transport bus was damaged at Unjha in Mehasana district late last night though nobody was hurt, they said, adding barring sporadic incidents, nothing major has been reported so far on Thursday.

The state transport bus service resumed today after remaining suspended yesterday in view of the protest, officials said.

Dalit protesters tried to block a train today for a short while near a railway station at Udhna in Surat. Thousands of protesters took out a rally and blocked the Ahmedabad-bound Navjivan Express for some time before police managed to clear the tracks.

A rally was also taken out in Limbdi town of Surendranagar district.

In Modasa of Arvalli district, shops were shut on Thursday against the forced closure and damages suffered during the bandh called by Dalits on Wednesday.

FIRs have been filed against both shopkeepers and protesters following yesterday’s incident in which several shops were damaged by Dalits when they tried to enforce the bandh, police said.

Meanwhile, NCP leader Praful Patel along with his party’s Gujarat MLAs, Jayant Patel, and Kandhal Jadeja, met one victim, Bhanubhai Sarvaiya, and his family members at Mota Samadhiyala in Una and offered them compensation of Rs 2 lakh. They then left for Rajkot to meet the hospitalized victims.

Later, Patel alleged that Chief Minister Anandiben Patel took nine days, which is a long time, after the incident to reach the victims.

“As a public representative, when the entire state is on fire and a sense of distrust prevails, it becomes our responsibility to console the affected family members and make them feel that we are there with them in their time of difficulty,” he said.