Thousands of Dalits took to the streets of Ahmedabad on Sunday to protest against the flogging of a family by cow vigilantes in Una for skinning a dead animal, and told the state government they would stop disposing of dead cattle and cleaning sewers. The father of one of three Dalit youths killed in Thangadh of Surendranagar district earlier this month reportedly by upper caste villagers also declared that he would start a hunger strike in Gandhinagar from Monday, reported The Indian Express.

Leaders of the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti, under whose banner the Dalit Maha Sammelan was organised, also plan to march from Ahmedabad to Una. They will start on August 5 and reach Una on August 15 to “feel independence” there.

The organisation's convener Jignesh Mevani demanded that the community members be respected asked the government to allot agriculture land to them. He said, “If atrocities on Dalits do not stop, we will show our strength in the 2017 Assembly polls.” Mevani also raised several pending Dalit issues and demanded a public apology from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for withdrawing a book on BR Ambedkar. He said criminal cases filed against Dalits recently in different parts of the state should be withdrawn.

More than 12,000 people attended the Maha Sammelan. A number of Muslim youths also joined the gathering to send out a message of Dalit-Muslim unity.

Gujarat has been facing discontent from various groups for more than a year now. With the Assembly election due next year, the Dalit and Patidar communities have challenged the state government on many occasions. While the Dalits account for 7% of Gujarat's population, the Patidar community constitutes 17% of the electorate. The BJP, however, has maintained a strong face. State party leader Kirit Solanki told NDTV, “We are with the victims. We will continue to work for Dalits in the state."