A Dalit youth was reportedly stripped and beaten, and another attacked by a group of men at a roadside restaurant in the Sabarmati Tol Naka region of Ahmedabad on Sunday night. In the video, a youth is seen being stripped and battered with sticks. He has been admitted to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, reportedly in critical condition. The other youth who was injured had not been hospitalised, reported The Indian Express.
The video of this incident was evocative of the emotions that surfaced post-2016 Una flogging incident that rocked Gujarat politics.
According to the police, the attack took place around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, when two Dalit youths, Pragnesh Parmar and Jayesh, entered the restaurant. "An argument arose between the owner and Pragnesh, after which the former, along with a few people, began to beat the two young men with sticks. FIR was filed under Section 307 (Attempt to Murder) of the Indian Penal code and Sections of the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe Act against two persons, Mahesh Thakore and Shankar Thakore. We apprehended Mahesh, who is the owner of the food shop, and the other accused will soon be arrested, " said RH Vala, in charge of the Sabarmati Police Station.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Metul, an Ahmedabad-based activist, said, "Mahesh lived in the vicinity of Sabarmati Tol Naka, so while the altercation took place between him and Pragnesh, his family members and friends joined him in beating the youth. Pragnesh was thrashed pitilessly and later admitted to the Civil Hospital on Sunday night.
Taking note of the incident, Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani said that if all the suspects involved in the attack are not apprehended within 24 hours, Dalit activists will call for bandh in Ahmedabad.
“We cannot let the culture of mob lynching take over Gujarat. In the past six months, there have been 12-13 murders of Dalits in the state and neither the state home minister nor the director general of police is seen condemning these incidents. We will observe bandh in Ahmedabad if the culprits are not caught within 24 hours,” said Mevani.