‘Cow Vigilantes Portrayed Una Victim as Muslim to Instigate Others’

Members of India's low-caste Dalit community shouts slogans during a sit in protest against the alleged attack on their community members for skinning a dead cow in Una, in Ahmadabad, India, Friday, July 22, 2016. Videos of the four men being stripped and beaten with sticks by men claiming to be cow protectors in Gujarat state have gone viral and have sparked protests by Dalit groups across the state. Credit: PTI

Members of the Dalit community shouts slogans during a sit-in protest against the attack in Una on July 22, 2016. Credit: PTI/Files

Ahmedabad: An accused in the Una flogging case allegedly tried to paint one of the seven Dalit victims as a Muslim who had slaughtered the cow whose carcass was being skinned in order to instigate other attackers further, according to the chargesheet by the CID.

According to the transcript of a video of the incident attached to the chargesheet, the said accused tried to egg others on by labelling the particular victim as a member of the minority community.

On July 11 last year, seven Dalits from Mota Samadhiyala village of Gir Somnath district were flogged in public, after they were seen skinning a dead cow.

Videos of the incident went viral, triggering widespread protests.

According to the transcript of one such video, annexed to the charge sheet, the accused tried to label one victim as Muslim.

“Tell the truth … You belong to which community? Don’t do drama here … stop crying … Beat him up. What is your name? I know you very well … Your name is Aarif … Why did you run away? Tell me will you ever run away? You slaughtered the cow,” reads the Gujarati transcript of the video.

“Let us tie them to the vehicle and thrash them. Only then will they understand,” the transcript adds.

The CID had named 34 people, including four police personnel, in the chargesheet filed last year.

The chargesheet said alleged mastermind Shantilal Monpara of the Sanatan Gau Seva Trust hatched a conspiracy with his aides to claim that the Dalit men had slaughtered the cow.

The Dalit men had claimed they were only skinning the carcass.

The chargesheet stated that the victims were thrashed near Una police station and that the policemen concerned “did nothing” to save the Dalit men.

The Gujarat police later discovered that the cow being skinned by the Dalits had actually been killed by lions.

Ahead of the first anniversary of the flogging incident, a Freedom March has been organised on July 12 from Mehsana town.

A day before the march, Dalit activists and victims of alleged atrocities on the community from across the country, including the Una incident victims, will gather at Ahmedabad to take part in a conclave where they will highlight their demands.

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