Members of Dalit Family Attacked by 20 Men for Entering a Temple in Kutch, India
India and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defense
On October 26, yet another case of violence occurred against members of a Dalit family in the state of Gujarat following a visit of Govind Vaghela and his family to the Ram temple at Ner village to offer prayers on October 20, which had apparently infuriated the local caste Hindus.
According to the complaint, Vaghela was at his shop on October 26 when he learned that someone had destroyed his standing crop by sending cattle into his field. When the complainant and his uncle arrived at the location, a mob of around 20 people attacked them with pipes, sticks, and sharp weapons for visiting the temple. Furthermore, his mother, father, and two other relatives were attacked in the incident. The accused also allegedly stole a cellphone and damaged the complainant's rickshaw.
As of now, the police have been able to detain 10 of the 20 accused while still working hard to catch the remaining accused. The arrested persons, named in the FIR, have been registered to invoke charges of attempted murder, dacoity, robbery, assault, and other offenses under relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Dalits, also known as “untouchables”, are members of the lowest social group in the Hindu caste system and frequent victims of violence, discrimination, and human rights abuses. In many places across India, local rules ban the entry of Dalit people into temples in contravention of laws under the constitution.
Sources and further reading:
“Attack on Dalit family: 10 accused held, say police”, The Indian Express, 1 November 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/dalit-family-attack-case-10-out-of-20-accused-detained-say-police-7600973/.
“Dalit family assaulted in Kutch for entering temple”, The Hindu, 29 October 2021, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/dalit-family-attacked-for-visiting-temple-in-gujarat/article37229864.ece.
“Gujarat: 6 members of Dalit family attacked by 20 for visiting temple”, The Wire, 10 October 2021, https://thewire.in/caste/gujarat-6-members-of-dalit-family-attacked-by-20-for-visiting-temple.
Kallie Szczepanski, “Who are the Dalits”, Thoughtco., 4 February 2020, https://www.thoughtco.com/who-are-the-dalits-195320.