Over 300 Dalits including the members of a family who were assaulted by cow vigilantes in Una of Gujarat have embraced Buddhism to protest against the rising atrocities against people belonging to their community.
At least 300 Dalits including the members of a family who were assaulted by cow vigilantes in Una of Gujarat have embraced Buddhism to protest against the rising atrocities against people belonging to their community. The event was organised in Mota Samadhiyala village of Girl Somnath district on Sunday by local Buddhist monks. The Indian Express reported that that ceremony was attended by Dalit BJP MLA Pradip Parmar.
Twenty-two resolutions including one on “not believing in Hindu gods” were pledged by them. The process of conversion, according to the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Law, now needs to be registered with the district collector for recognition.
Balu Sarviya’s sons who were assaulted by cow vigilantes in July 2016, along with his wife Kunvar and daughters-in law, were among the Dalits to adopt Buddhism. Balu’s sons Vahsram, Ramesh and two others were beaten up by cow vigilantes and paraded naked on July 11, 2016 while they were caught skinning the carcass of a cow. At that time, it was alleged that the three had killed the cow but later it was found that the cow was killed a lion. The incident had triggered widespread protests by Dalits.
Balu’s nephew Ashok, relative Bechar and other members of his also joined the group on Sunday and converted to Buddhism. Ashok and Bechar were also brutally assaulted by cow vigilantes in July 2016.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Balu said that after embracing the Buddhism, he is now relieved and feeling empowered today. He said that he has junked the blind faith forever. “After I was assaulted and humiliated, I realised that these things were burdening me,” he said, adding that there will a revolution.
“Now no god or goddess will prevent us from doing what we want to do. We shall study, educate ourselves and choose suitable professions,” he told the daily.
His son Ramesh said that they were never treated as a Hindu though they followed Hinduism for thousands of years. He said that they were not allowed to enter temples. “Fed up of all prejudices, we converted to Buddhism,” he said.
Pradip Parmar congratulated the Dalits for taking diksha. He said that the rights promised to him by the Constitution has made him an MLA. “I am a BJP worker and the party gave me ticket. But had Babasahed Ambedkar not given the Constitution and the provision of reservation, I would not have become an MLA.”
There has been a rise in cases of atrocities against Dalits in recent times under the BJP rule. Not only in Gujarat, cases have also been reported from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states. The party has invited flak from Dalits groups and their political opponents for not doing enough to instil a sense of security in the Dalits.