For the past three days, the Dalit colony of Chinnakandukuru in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district of Telangana has been witnessing activists and Dalit leaders thronging the settlement to express solidarity and assure the victims of justice.
On January 15, at around 12:30 am, 11 Dalits were attacked by allegedly 20-30 cow vigilantes belonging to the RSS for slaughtering a cow.
The stick wielding goons came from the neighbouring village of Yadagiripalli and Pedda Kandukuru, 8 km from Chinnakandukuru.
The victims were identified as Yerra Chandraiah, Yerra Narsaiah, Yerra Uppalaiah, Yerra Narsaiah, Bushapaka Yellaiah, Bolarum Yadaiah, Yerra Posaiah, Yerra Somaiah, Bade Somaiah, Madari Uppalaiah and Yerra Mallaiah.
Besides attacking the victims and hurling abuses at them, the accused scouted the Dalit colony to search for Dalits who fled into the bushes after seeing them. They also purportedly stole a cow belonging to Yerra Narsaiah, assuming that it too was meant for slaughtering, and sent it to a Gaushala situated in Kolipaaka.
To celebrate Sankranti, the Dalits of the village pooled in money and bought a cow from Navapet for Rs 26,000 and slaughtered it. However, their celebrations were disrupted as the cow vigilantes, with the help of the police, buried the slaughtered cow and took away the cow belonging to Yerra Narsaiah.
Yerra Narsaiah showing the place from where his cow was stolen
â€śI had bought the cow for Rs 21,000. I tied it up at my home. I too was involved in the slaughteringâ€¦ after seeing some 20 men on bikes armed with lathis, we fled into the bushes thinking that they were police in mufti. As the men ran away, they scouted our entire colony and took away my cow,â€ť Narsaiah recalls.
Narsaiah claims that the attackers took pictures of the cow before taking it away.
The attackers also vandalised the home of Yerra Chandraiah, one of the 11 victims. Chandraiah states that the goons broke open his homeâ€™s door when his panic-stricken wife refused to open it.
â€śThese drunk goons banged the doors and windows of my home. Petrified of the armed mob, who kept shouting to open the door, my wife refused. Then they broke the door open. My daughters, wife and sister-in-law were shaken by the whole incident,â€ť Chandraiah shares.
Yerra Chandraiah showing the state of the doors which were broke open
Chandraiah runs a kirana (general store) and also a puncture repair shop. He has two daughters, Sri Latha and Sri Vani, and a son, Chintu.
Suguna, Chandraiahâ€™s wife, recalls, â€śI was really shaken by the incident. It was really late in the night. They wouldnâ€™t go even when I kept saying that there were no men in the house. I didnâ€™t open the door despite their continuous shouting. Then they broke it open and vandalised my home.â€ť
During the incident Chandraiah and his son were hiding in the bushes out of fear.
The Madiga community is dazed by this unprecedented incident in their village.
â€śThinking that they were the police we ran away, else we would have beaten them to pulp. This sort of incident has never happened in our village before. We would never let this happen again,â€ť shares a determined Uppalaiah.
Yadagirigutta police, however, have filed cases against both the parties.
Reportedly, the RSS cow vigilantes had first called the police emergency number: 100 and then raided the village.
After seeing the dead cow at the spot, the police filed a case against the Dalits for cow slaughtering, which is banned in the state. Later they booked a case under the SC/ST Atrocity Act against the RSS men for attacking the Dalits.
Meanwhile, on Friday the community resolved to hold a beef festival and also form a committee with the demand of arresting the RSS members of Yadagiripalli and Pedda Kandukuru who had attacked the Dalits. The victims, along with other Dalit and Left leaders from neighbouring mandals who assembled to discuss a plan of action to fight the assault against them by the cow terrorists of the RSS, unanimously vowed to stay together in their campaign for justice.
Yerra Uppalaiah said, â€śThis is the first time that such an incident took place in the village. The attack should be seen as an attack on the village, everyone should fight it together. We have been eating cow meat for decades and we will continue toâ€¦ who are these people to impose restrictions on our food?â€ť
Addressing the gathering, the village Sarpanch N Pandu said, â€śIf there was any objection to slaughtering a cow, they (RSS) should have brought it to my notice rather than frightening the people with violence. I will fully support the cause for justice.â€ť
Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi district president Kandula Ramanna who also took part in the discussion said that they would not back down until the perpetrators were arrested.
â€śIf it was cow meat that is bothering them, we will hold a beef festival within two days in the same village as our protest against the incident.â€ť