Gujarat: Dalit family attacked for entering Kutch temple

Six members of the family were attacked, their farmlands ravaged; 20 accused, five detained so far


Bloodsoaked, injured, their pain visible on their shocked faces, a Dalit family, that was assaulted by 20 persons allegedly for merely entering a Ram temple in Kutch, Gujarat, awaits justice and support. 

Six members of the family were attacked, and according to news reports, their farmlands were ravaged after they allegedly entered the village temple during a ceremony organised by another community. The attack was reported from a village in Bhachau taluka of Gandhidham city of Kutch and took place three days ago, however it came into the limelight only after media began reporting on it and images were shared on social media. The family was assaulted allegedly by a group of 20 persons, and by Friday evening police had detained only five accused, stated news reports.

The Dalit victims told the media that they were “systematically targeted” for entering a Ram temple in their village, while a ceremony, which had been organised by another community, was being held in the temple. The police on the other hand have told the media that they are “probing the allegations made by the victims”, adding that “the six persons have been admitted to Civil Hospital in Bhuj of Kutch following the attack in which they received injuries on their heads and other parts by sharp weapons.”

According to media reports, based on police information, there were two attacks on October 26 at Ner village under Bhachau taluka. A group of 20 persons first allegedly “ransacked the farmland of the Dalit family by letting cattle graze through it” and then entered the Dalit house to assault the family. Govind Vaghela (39) one of the family members reportedly said that he got to know around 10 A.M on October 26, that cattle had entered his farmland in the village. He said, “I left in an auto rickshaw with my uncle Ganesh Vaghela. Upon reaching my farmland, I saw that the crops had been ransacked and a group of men were waiting underneath a tree, holding axes, sticks, and rods in their hands. Led by the accused Kana Ahir of my village, they started assaulting us with the weapons.” Govind Vaghela has put this account on record in his police complaint as well.

He added, “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,” reported the Indian Express. Police, told the media that around 11:30 A.M, the group of 20 accused then reached the house of Jagabhai Vaghela (64), father of Govind and assaulted him, his wife Baddhiben Vaghela, son Bhura Vaghela and nephew Hasmukh Vaghela. Jagabhai Vaghela recalled that “the accused used casteist slurs… and we were hit on our head and limbs by the accused resulting in excessive bleeding.” 

Police have lodged two FIRs against 20 accused identified as Kana Ahir, Jeeva Ahir, Vela Ahir, Kesra Rabari, Arjan Rabari, Dinesh Balasara, Rajesh Balasara, Rana Balasara, Dinesh Ramji Balasara, Naya Ahir, Kana Koli, Bhanji Suthar, Rajesh Maraj, Dinesh Maraj, Paba Rabari, Chauda Koli, Sava Koli, Momaya Koli, Hema Rabari and Navgan Rabari, reported IE. They have been charged under under IPC sections 307 for attempt to murder, 323 for causing hurt, 324 for causing hurt by dangerous weapons, 452 for house tresspass for causing hurt, 120(b) for criminal conspiracy, 506 for criminal intimidation, 294b for obsceniy, sections of the rioting and sections of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe (prevention of atrocities) act.

Kishorsinh Zala, deputy superintendent of police, Bhachau said, “We have detained five out of 20 accused and their covid test formalities are going on. A total of eight teams have been formed to nab the remaining accused…”


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