Thousands of Dalits gathered in Una, Gujarat on Independence Day pledged never to do sanitation work and never to dispose off dead cattle ever again. Radhika Vemula, mother of late Rohith Vemula who committed suicide at Hyderabad university hostel in January this year due to harassment by university authorities, unfurled the national flag in the massive rally. It was the culmination of a 10-day Dalit Pride Yatra started from Ahmedabad on August 4. Una is the town where seven Dalit youths were publicly flogged for skinning a dead cow by local cow vigilante group on July 21.
Muslims in Una and from other parts of the state also participated in the rally declaring their solidarity with Dalits and making an attempt to create a new political force consisting of Dalits and Muslims.
In every village that came en route to almost 400 km long yatra, hundreds of Dalits gathered to welcome yatra participants and held rally to pledge to give up disposing of dead animals and instead seek lands from the government to pursue other alternative livelihood opportunities.
The yatra has been organised by social activists under the banner of Dalit Asmita Yatra after a Massive congregation of Daits in Ahmedabad on July 31.
During the last leg of Yatra, the participant faced several difficulties and abuses by members of upper caste communities. At several places, other community members pelted stones on some buses carrying Dalits to Una. The organisers had to change the announced route to reach the destination.
Four people were injured in the stone pelting and were admitted in hospital for treatment.