Roxy Gagdekar, DNA | Last Modified - Jan 28, 2012, 05:10 AM IST
Sanand: Baba Ramdev was not there. Nor was it the Ramlila Maidan of Delhi. But lathis were used - on the dalits of Sanand, who had experienced a similar fate when they were lathi-charged post midnight earlier this week, and the corpse which was placed in the police station to agitate against the ineffective cops, was seized.
The body was of Atul Rathod, a resident of Rethal village of Sanand Taluka. The police failed to act against the people allegedly responsible for his murder, which happened after a scuffle between the dalits and the Rajputs of the village on January 24. This led to anger and resentment among the people, and subsequent protest.
Several dalits were injured in the fracas and many were too scared to take part in the protest. The police lathi-charge was conducted at 3 am, in a grim irony, on Republic Day, when the country was gearing up to celebrate the biggest festival of democracy.
“We don’t feel like citizens of this country anymore. How can we be when we are denied justice, and do not have the right to agitate?” Kamla Makwana, a dalit woman leader told DNA.
Describing the incident, Makwana said that the police swooped down on them and started beating them and took custody of the dead body. “They dispatched the corpse to the morgue of the Civil Hospital in an ambulance, which remained there till Republic day noon,” she said.
“The body was later given back on the condition that it be immediately cremated, which we did,” Atul Rathod, a relative of the victim said. The cremation was done in the afternoon.
“The lathi-charge was conducted when the agitators were asleep, rendering them helpless,” Kantilal, a dalit leader told DNA. “It killed the agitation, and all of us were forced to return home,” he added.