As a mark of protest against the thrashing of Dalit youths in Una, Amrutlal Makwana, a Dalit writer from Gujarat, today announced that he would return the award conferred on him by the state government, accusing the administration of having no sympathy for the community.
Makwana told PTI he would return his award, including Rs 25,000 cash, to District Collector of Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Makwana, a resident of Wadhwan town of Surendranagar district, said, “Such incidents are occurring in Gujarat on a regular basis but the government is not doing enough to ensure that Dalits get justice.”
The 44-year-old writer, who has been associated with Congress, was conferred the ‘Dasi Jeevan Shreshth Dalit Sahitya Kruti Award’ for 2012-13 by Gujarat government for his work ‘Kharapat Nu Dalit Lok Sahitya’. He was given Rs 25,000 cash along with a certificate and a shawl.
“What happened in Mota Samadhiyala village of Gir-Somnath district was ghastly and barbaric. Such atrocities on Dalits are condemnable and it shook me to the core. Sadly, such incidents are happening around us regularly,” he said.
“Around 50 persons thrashed some Dalit youths but only 16 were arrested. Why are other people still roaming free? I doubt the government’s intentions. I no longer have faith in this government. If the leaders do not have any sympathy for Dalits, there is no meaning in keeping such awards,” he said.
The writer fears that this case will meet the same fate as Thangadh police firing case, wherein three Dalit youths were allegedly killed in police firing four years ago.
“Even after four years, there is no progress in Thangadh firing case. What is the guarantee that this new case will not meet the same fate? With utter grief and pain, I hereby announce to return my award, including Rs 25,000 given to me by the government,” Makwana said.
On July 11, some Dalit youths from Mota Samadhiyala, who were skinning a dead cow were flogged by “cow protection” vigilantes, alleging that they had killed the cow.
After a video of the incident went viral, it sparked off violent protests across Gujarat.