A Dalit family, whose four members were allegedly flogged by cow vigilantes in Una tehsil of Gir Somnath district of Gujarat in 2016, will convert to Buddhism along with hundreds of others.
The conversion ceremony will be held at Mota Samadhiyala village in Gir Somnath district where the flogging incident had happened, and it comes on the eve of Buddha Jayanti.
“We had informed the district collector on April 20 that we will convert to Buddhism on April 29, and we have sought the support of members of our community and others for the programme where hundreds of Dalits will embrace Buddhism,” Piyush Sarvaiya, a member of the Sarvaiya family whose four members were victims of the flogging incident, said.
Seven Dalits, including four members of the Sarvaiya family from Mota Samadhiyala, were paraded and flogged for allegedly skinning a dead cow in July, 2016. The incident had caused nationwide outrage after a video of the same went viral.
Sarvaiya said he expects hundreds of Dalits from their village as well as from villages in the adjoining areas to participate in the mass conversion programme organised by Balubhai Sarvaiya, the head of the family, near the site of the incident in the village.
He said the family had announced that they would shun Hinduism as it “discriminates between people of the same faith on the basis of their caste and occupation”.
He said other victims of caste discrimination will also embrace Buddhism.
“There is no discrimination in Buddhism which teaches all to live equally and respect each other. This is the reason we have decided to convert to Buddhism,” Ramesh Sarvaiya, another member of the family said.
The family members alleged the Gujarat government did not fulfil the promises made to them in the wake of the incident.
“They had promised us land and a fast-track court to deal with the case, but none of the promises have been fulfilled by the government,” Ramesh added.