India

India protests continue after cow protectors assault Dalits in Gujarat

Members of India's low-caste Dalit community sticks and shout slogans in Ahmedabad, India, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Image copyright AP
Image caption Groups of Dalit protesters roamed the streets of Ahmedabad city, armed with wooden sticks

Protests are continuing in the Indian state of Gujarat over last week's beating up of four low-caste Dalit men by cow protection vigilantes.

The parliament too was in uproar with opposition MPs shouting slogans accusing PM Narendra Modi's government of failing to protect the Dalits.

The four Dalit men were assaulted while trying to skin a dead cow.

Many Hindus consider cows sacred and the slaughter of the animal is banned in many Indian states.

Last year, a Muslim man was lynched by a violent mob that attacked his house over allegations that his family had been storing and consuming beef at home.

There have several other attacks across India where Muslim men have been accused of eating or smuggling beef.

A video of the four Dalit men, believed to be tannery workers, being stripped and beaten with sticks allegedly by the members of a Hindu hardline group last week in Gujarat's Una town has gone viral and sparked massive protests by Dalit groups.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Protesters have burnt government buses and blocked highways in Gujarat

On Wednesday, groups of protesters were seen walking around the streets of Ahmedabad city, armed with wooden sticks and shouting slogans.

Protests, which began on Monday, have now spread to several parts of the state.

Protesters have set government buses on fire, blocked a national highway and clashed with the police.

On Tuesday, police fired teargas shells and used sticks to control the stone-pelting mobs.

One senior officer was killed and several others were wounded in the clash.

Hundreds of people have been detained.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has said that her government was committed to protecting the Dalits and ordered an inquiry into the incident. Four policemen have been suspended.

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