4 YRS AFTER UNA ATROCITY, PLIGHT OF DALITS IN GUJARAT WORSENS
-Not even an hour's drive from Ahmedabad, Dalits have no place to bury their dead
Viramgam: July 11, 2020. Exactly four years have elapsed after the horrifying Una atrocity on Dalits in Gujarat and the State Government has made several claims about their welfare. But there is almost no change in the status of Dalits in Mahatma Gandhi’s home state.
For instance, as many as 5,000 people from the Scheduled Caste community in Viramgam have no place to bury their dead. Thousands of litres of sewage water released by upper caste residents here have converted the one-acre graveyard meant for Dalits on the outskirts of the town into a huge cesspool.
It has been six months that the cemetery meant for socially-disadvantaged Vankars, Chamars, Rohits, Dangasia and Shetwa in “Mukti Dham” has been filled with dirty water.
“The cemetery where our people have been buried has turned into an island of dirty water. They were humiliated when alive, but even after death, the upper castes are deliberately discharging their solid and liquid waste into our final resting place,” Kirit Rathod, convener of the Dalit Adhikar Manch, said.
Social worker Mahendra Jadav said when an elderly Dalit citizen passed away last week, his body had to be taken to a public crematorium five km away and disposed of there by burning and not a burial because the graveyard here is inaccessible.
He said, “Releasing hazardous waste on Dalit premises is a criminal offence. We have been tolerating the nuisance since January but the situation has worsened in the last month.” After Rathod’s letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on June 29, the local administration swung into action.
Chief Officer Alpesh Patel rushed to Mukti Dham to check how the contaminated water from the two nearby housing societies was diverted to the cemetery by specially created gutters and canals. Later, notices had been slapped on the Ashtavinayak Society.