Cop killed at Dalit demo
A POLICE officer was killed on July 19 when violence broke out at a demonstration in western India to protest an attack on low-caste villagers by cow protection vigilantes.
Police fired teargas shells and used sticks to try to control stonethrowing crowds angered by attempts to stop them from demonstrating in western Gujarat state.
Hundreds of people have been detained as authorities try to contain the unrest, which began on July 18 and has since spread.
One senior officer was fatally wounded in the July 19 clashes and several more suffered minor injuries, local superintendent of police JA Patel said.
The protests erupted after video footage emerged of an attack last week on four villagers from the lowest Dalit caste who were taking a dead cow to be skinned.
Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and killing them is banned in Gujarat, but the villagers said the animal had died of natural causes.
Low-caste villagers are commonly tasked with removing the corpses of dead cows from the streets of India, where the animals often roam freely.
Local lawmaker Shambhu Prasad Tundiya said the violence was a sign of frustration among low-caste Hindus after years of discrimination by people from higher castes who often went unpunished.
“Such atrocities by upper-caste people on Dalits have been happening time and again since ages. This is unacceptable,” Mr Tundiya said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said 16 people had now been arrested over the attack. –