Una: Dalit Family Seeks Deportation To A Country “Where They Feel Equal”

July, 2016. Incidents of lynching are on the rise. Newspapers, TV channels, and conversations with friends are getting increasingly more populated with the ethics, verifiability and the necessity of mob justice. Batman and Robin Hood are quickly overtaken by the new vigilantes in town: gau rakshaks (cow protectors).

All this in reference to a specific case: that of a family of seven from the Dalit community being flogged in public on the accusation of having killed cows. In Una, Gujarat, self-proclaimed gau rakshaks stripped, flogged and assaulted the Sarvaiya family for skinning a dead cow. This incident was recorded on video.

Leaders from the Dalit community took this up strongly and held protests across the state. The victims were promised BPL cards, housing plots, five acres of agricultural land and government jobs.

The Gujarat CID arrested 43 people in connection with the flogging, and filed a charge sheet in December 2016.

January, 2020. India reels under the implementation of the CAA-NRC-NPR. People are more divided on ideology than ever. Frustrated with government inaction, they’re out on the streets, treating the attack on the country’s secular fabric as the last straw in a long list of sins of omission the BJP government has indulged in since 2014.

Vashram Sarvaiya, one of the seven members of the Dalit family that was flogged in Una in 2016, has spoken out. He says, “We oppose the CAA but if they want to implement the Act, they should also deport us to a country where Dalits would be considered equal citizens.”

In a letter addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind on behalf of his brothers, Vashram says, “We are not considered citizens in India. Dalits are discriminated against in the Hindu community. So we request President Ramnath Kovind to send us to a different country where we won’t face discrimination.”

It is important to note that this is not the Sarvaiyas’ first letter to the President. In 2018, another one had been written seeking permission for mercy killing.

If their plea is not considered this time, Vashram said he and his brothers will immolate themselves outside Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below