Over 300 Dalits Including Una Assault Victims Embrace Buddhism in Gujarat
Representational Image (Photo Credit: PTI)

Gir Somnath, April 30: Around 300 Dalits adopted Buddhism in Gujarat on Sunday. It also included the members of a family who were assaulted by cow vigilantes in Una of Gujarat in July 2016. The Dalits have embraced Buddhism to protest against the rising atrocities against people of their community. Local Buddhist monks organised the event in Mota Samadhiyala village of Gir Somnath district. According to a report published in The Indian Express, the ceremony was attended by Dalit Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Pradip Parmar.

The process of conversion took place according to the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Law. This conversion process needs to be registered with the district collector for recognition. Twenty-two resolutions were pledged by the Dalits during conversion, one of them was ‘not to worship Hindu gods and goddesses’.

Balu Surviya’s sons, Vahsram and Ramesh who were assaulted by cow vigilantes in July 2016, along with his wife, daughters-in-law and his other relatives were among those who adopted Buddhism. Vashram, Ramesh and two others were paraded naked on July 11, 2016 by cow vigilante for skinning the carcass of a cow.

Balu told The Indian Express that after embracing the Buddhism, he was relieved and feeling empowered and had junked the blind faith forever. He further added, “After I was assaulted and humiliated, I realised that these things were burdening me.” According to Balu, they will now follow the profession of their own choice, and no god or goddess can stop them.

Balu’s son Ramesh told the daily that they were never treated like a Hindu and they were never allowed to enter temples. BJP MLA Pradip Parmar congratulated all Dalits for taking Dikshas. He said that he was an MLA only because of the rights promised by the constitution. Parmar while speaking to The Indian Express said, “I am a BJP worker, and the party gave me a ticket. But had Babasahed Ambedkar not given the Constitution and the provision of reservation, I would not have become an MLA.”

The BJP government both at centre and the state drew flak because of the Una incident from opposition parties. This incident also inculcated the feeling of fear in Dalits.