The four Dalit men who were flogged in Gujarat's Una district for skinning a dead cow have denied claims by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed group that they will join a protest rally organised by it in Uttar Pradesh. Jitu Sarvaiya, one of the four men, told, “This is false news. No one called us. We have never participated in any of the RSS’ programmes and we are not planning to join any such event in UP.

Bharatiya Bauddha Sangh chief Bhante Sanghpriya Rahul had said, "The four will participate in the yatra for about 10-12 days when it enters poll-bound UP," according to The Times of India.

Rahul had added that they aim to "reach out to Dalit people across the country" and "spread awareness about Buddha and his teachings". The march will pass through "every village" in Uttar Pradesh before ending in Junagarh, Gujarat, on May 26, he said. The march will be flagged off from Delhi's Alipur Road on October 14, the day BR Ambedkar converted to Buddhism.

The incident in Una had triggered protests across the state in July after a video of the assault went viral. The clip showed several men stripping the victims, tying them to an SUV and beating them up with iron pipes and sticks. The Gujarat government suspended four police officers for negligence and ordered a Criminal Investigation Department probe into the matter.

The BJP has been trying to reach out to the Dalit community since it faced criticism following the suicide of University of Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula. Its election campaign in Uttar Pradesh has largely been aimed at improving its image before the community. The party had roped in Buddhist monk and former MP Dhamma Viriyo to lead its Dhamma Chetna Yatra in Dalit-OBC regions in Uttar Pradesh to garner support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ahead of the 2017 state Assembly elections.