No more scavenging

On July 31, thousands of protesters from nearly 30 Dalit groups gathered in Ahmedabad, calling for members of the community to stop picking up the carcasses of dead animals and cleaning the city’s sewers to emphasise their discontent with the state of affairs. Traditionally, such civic tasks have been performed by Dalits—deemed untouchables according to the Hindu caste system, till the practice was banned in 1950.

“Only our united strength will help us fight the age-old oppression,” Jignesh Mevani, the organiser of the protest, said.

Since the Una incident, hundreds of animal carcasses have been left to rot across the state with some protesters even dumping the rotting flesh in front of government offices.

The protests have also brought together the families of victims from past incidents who criticized the state government for its unwillingness to provide justice. Among those at the July 31 protest were families of the three Dalit youths killed by the Gujarat police at a September 2012 rally in Surendranagar district.

“What can we expect from this government that failed to provide justice even after four years?” the wife of one of the victims, Gitaben Parmar, said, according to the Indian Express newspaper.

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