Gujarat: Dalit family attacked for visiting temple

In many places across India, rules made by upper-caste Hindus ban entry of Dalits into temples in contravention of laws under the constitution.

A Dalit family in a village near Gandhidham town of Gujarat’s Kutch district, was attacked by around 20 Hindu men for visiting a temple on Tuesday, 26, October.

“Two FIRs were registered in this regard, one by Govind Vaghela and another by his father Jagabhai. The duo claimed that around 20 persons attacked them. We have formed eight teams to nab the culprits,” deputy superintendent of police Kishorsinh Zala told the news agency PTI.

Police have detained five accused in the matter by Friday evening, Indian Express reported.

The case has been registered against 20 persons, including Kana Ahir, Rajesh Maharaj, Kesra Rabai, Paba Rabari and Kana Koli, on the charges of attempt to murder, dacoity, robbery, assault, and under sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Govind Vaghela and his family had visited the Ram temple at Ner village on 20 October to offer prayers when a ritual was underway. A week after this, the angry Hindu men had destroyed Dalit man’s standing crop by sending cattle into his field.

They were angry that we visited Ram Temple, the complaint stated.

“They asked us as to why did we enter the Ram temple on October 20 when a ‘pratishthan’ ceremony was going on. They stole my cell phone and attacked the autorickshaw so that we couldn’t seek help and told me that they are going to the village to kill my father. My uncle and I received injuries on our heads and limbs and we were finally rescued by the police who took us to the hospital,” read the complaint by Vaghela.

The 6 member-Dalit family also alleged that the Hindu youths attacked them with pipes, sticks and sharp weapons for visiting the temple.

As per the FIR, the accused had attacked Vaghela’s mother Badhiben, father Jagabhai and two other relatives, and the six survivors of caste based violence were treated at a general hospital in Bhuj.

The Hindu men had also stolen a mobile phone and damaged Vaghela’s rickshaw, FIR states.

In many places across India, rules made by upper-caste Hindus ban entry of Dalits into temples in contravention of laws under the constitution.