We Received No Land, Dues: Una Victim Refutes Gujarat Govt’s Claim

Victims of 2016 Una incident claim non-payment of compensation, while Gujarat govt says all dues have been paid.

5 min read
Hindi Female

The Dalit victims of the 2016 Una flogging incident in Gujarat have sought permission from President Ram Nath Kovind to end their lives, claiming that the BJP government in the state have not fulfilled their promises to them in over two years ago.

Seven members of a Dalit family were thrashed by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes in Mota Samadhiyala village in Una taluka, Gir Somnath district, on 11 July 2016. One of them, Vashram Sarvaiya, wrote a letter to Kovind on 28 November, on behalf of all the victims, requesting him to grant them the permission to end their lives.

Meanwhile, Gujarat’s Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Ishwar Parmar said compensation has already been paid in full to the 2016 Una incident victims. Parmar stated that 5.33 acres of land was given to the Una victims as part of the compensation.

However, Vashram Sarvaiya has refuted the Gujarat government’s claims.

Victims of 2016 Una incident claim non-payment of compensation, while Gujarat govt says all dues have been paid.
Four Dalit men who were attacked by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes participate in a solidarity rally in Una, Gujarat, on 15 August 2016. 
(Photo: PTI)

No Jobs, No Protection

In the letter, Sarvaiya said that after the incident, then Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had met the victims in the village and promised to give each of them five acres of land and jobs according to their educational qualifications.

“However, even after two-and-a-half years, we have not received anything. Since we have already left the business of skinning dead cattle, we must be given jobs or some other work. Otherwise, we would starve to death.”
Vashram Sarvaiya’s letter to President Ram Nath Kovind

Sarvaiya claimed several representations were made to the state government in this regard, but in vain. He alleged that the state government did nothing for cancellation of the bail granted to some of the accused arrested in the incident.

Sarvaiya also demanded police protection for his family during their deposition in the local court where the case is being heard. The other demands mentioned in the letter include setting up of a police outpost in Mota Samadhiyala, development of the village and withdrawal of cases lodged against Dalits during protests over the incident across the state.
Victims of 2016 Una incident claim non-payment of compensation, while Gujarat govt says all dues have been paid.
At least 1,000 people had gathered for the Una victims’ conversion to Buddhism from across Una on 30 April 2018.
Photo: Rahul Nair/The Quint

Gujarat Govt Says Compensation Has Been Paid

Speaking with reporters last week, Ishwar Parmar said that all the pending dues have been paid to the victims. According to Parmar, the victims never approached the state government with any complaints, and wondered why they approached the president first.

“The victims were given 5.33 acres of agricultural land so that they can have a livelihood. The land was to be levelled and a tender process for the same was initiated. However, the family has demanded that the government should give them the money that would be used for levelling. As per the rules, that is not permissible.”
Ishwar Parmar, Gujarat minister for social justice and empowerment
According to the government, the victims’ families have so far received Rs 1,50,000 in cash, along with Post Office Monthly Pension Scheme of Rs 2,25,000, Rs 5,00,000 from Dr Ambedkar Foundation in New Delhi. Apart from this, an additional cash aid of Rs 45,000, food grain assistance worth Rs 21,000, Rs 42,897 as migratory relief and Rs 25,000 for legal fees was also paid to the victims.

Vashram Refutes Govt’s Claims

The Quint spoke with Vashram Sarvaiya at length about the letter he wrote and the claims made by the state government. Vashram claims that for over two years, the family has waited for government aid, yet nothing has come through.

“We have only received Rs 3 lakh each as money paid under the atrocity act. Apart from that, we have not received a single penny from the government. The government has made false promises to us. The land that the minister claims was allotted to us, where is it? With such limited compensation, how are we supposed to run our families.”
Vashram Sarvaiya

He further added, “We have given up on skinning dead cattle. At the same time, we are unemployed as the government has not fulfilled its commitment to give us jobs based on our qualifications. We were attacked so brutally that we cannot do labour work in farms and fields. Where is our justice?”


Compensation Paid to Another Victim

Vashram has claimed that the compensation was paid to victims of another case pertaining to 2012, where a Dalit man was burnt alive in Ankolali village in Una Taluka. On 29 November, a court in Gir Somnath sentenced 11 people to life term for killing Lalji Sarvaiya in September 2012.

Lalji Sarvaiya, 27, worked in a stone quarry, and his was the only Dalit family in Ankolali village. He had applied for a mining license and, according to the family’s lawyer, some villagers did not want him to get it. As part of a conspiracy, one of the accused falsely claimed that Sarvaiya had kidnapped his daughter and hid her in his house. As per the charge sheet on 13 September 2012, the accused gathered outside Lalji Sarvaiya’s house and locked him up. The accused then poured kerosene and set the house on fire. Sarvaiya was burned to death.
“After we were attacked two years ago, many people from our community stood by us in solidarity when ministers and bureaucrats came to visit us. During one such visit, these bureaucrats saw Lalji’s family with us. Lalji’s family received the compensation when we were in the hospital getting treated. For the last two years, they too have been struggling with the land, which is uneven. A tender of Rs 4.15 lakh was to be issued to level the land, but no one picked it up. Ishwar Parmar is lying. “
Vashram Sarvaiya

Need for Additional Police Protection

According to Vashram, the letter is not just about the compensation, but also about the safety as the perpetrators are out on bail and they have limited protection.

“The court is 110 kms away from our homes. Each time we go for a hearing, we put our lives at risk. We were promised that the case will be heard in fast-track court, but that has not happened. We were promised that Mota Samdhiyala will be developed and a police station will set up here. All false promises. Thus, we wrote to the President requesting for Mercy Killing.”
Vashram Sarvaiya

On 7 December, Vashram and his family will sit on an indefinite hunger strike outside BJP MP Kirit Solanki’s residence in Delhi.

“Kirit Solanki is regarded as the office bearer and leader for scheduled caste, and is also a cabinet minister. If he wishes, the government will have to give justice to the Dalit victims in Gujarat,” Vashram said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and india

Topics:  Gujarat   Anandiben Patel   Mercy Killing 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More