A number of Dalits are putting up their WhatsApp display pictures featuring a logo of a twirled moustache with a crown, Indianexpress.com reports. The pictures, which have ‘Mr Dalit’ written over them, have reportedly been put up as a mark of protest against attacks on Dalits in the Sanand area of Gujarat. The unique protest started after multiple attacks on Dalits were reported from Gujarat in the past ten days.
Reports say that Dalits have been attacked in the state for sporting moustaches. Indian Express reports that first such attack took place on September 25, when one Piyush Parmar, 24, was allegedly beaten by Rajputs for sporting a moustache. As per Parmar’s statement to the Gujarat Police, he was returning home from a Garba programme in his village, Limbodara, when a number of people from the Rajput community thrashed him for sporting a moustache.
Another such incident came on September 29. Krunal Maheria (30), a law student, was allegedly thrashed by a person identified as Bharatsinh Vaghela in Limbodara, the same village where the first incident had taken place. Maheria also lodged a complaint with police and claimed that Vaghela assaulted him for sporting a moustache.
And why is keeping a moustache causing problems? As per some reports, some upper caste men have objections to Dalits keeping a moustache as it is considered a ‘sign of privilege’ according to them. Maheria, the Dalit man who was allegedly beaten, told police that Vaghela, an upper caste man and he, along with several others, intercepted and verbally abused him. He was allegedly told that he “cannot become a Rajput by just sporting a moustache.” “When I ignored him, Vaghela beat me up with a stick,” Maheria was quoted as saying.
Anirudh Solanki, a person from Sanand, who is a part of the protest, said that putting up the display picture has been done to give a message that Dalits will sport a moustache and twirl it like a king without a care in the world. “We are sure that more people will join us and change their Facebook and WhatsApp display pictures in the coming days,” he was quoted as saying