Cop killed at Dalit demo

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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