Come smell the cow carcasses, Dalits tell Gujarat tourism face Amitabh Bachchan in 1,100 postcards
Their drive to highlight the Una assaults parodied the state’s ‘Khushbu Gujarat ki’ campaign.
Dalit protesters on Tuesday sent 1,100 postcards carrying the slogan “Badbu Gujarat ki [the stench of Gujarat]” to state tourism ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign was launched by two Dalit organisations to highlight the case of Dalit tanners being beaten up by cow vigilante groups in the state’s Una district. Their slogan parodies the Gujarat tourism department’s “Khusbhu Gujarat ki [the fragrance of Gujarat]” initiative, for which Bachchan is the face.
The Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti and Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch conceived of the protest, and said it began from the Kalol region. Jignesh Mevani, the convenor of the Una body, said, “All the postcards bear a common printed message which urges him to visit Gujarat and sniff the stink coming out of cattle carcasses, as Dalits have stopped disposing of them as part of their protest against atrocities in Una.” Mevani added that more postcards will be sent to Bachchan as their protests continue.
Dalits have traditionally been left with jobs such as disposing of cattle carcasses, which upper castes consider menial. However, lately, cow vigilante groups have used this to target the community, often blaming them for illegal cattle smuggling or beef eating instead.