One of the seven victims of the 2016 Una Dalit flogging incident has requested President Ram Nath Kovind to deport him and his brothers to a country where they will not face discrimination, The Times of India reported on Monday. Vashram Sarvaiya alleged that they have not been treated like citizens of India.

On July 11, 2016, more than 40 men from the upper caste Darbar community had assaulted seven members of the Sarvaiya family for skinning a dead cow in Gir Somnath district’s Una town. The Sarvaiyas were leather tanners and skinning dead cattle was part of their traditional occupation. But the assailants accused them of cow slaughter. During the attack, four of the Sarvaiya brothers were stripped, tied to the back of a car and beaten with sticks and iron rods, while some of the attackers filmed the assault.

The plea was received by the coordinative unit of the Una’s Gir-Somnath district collectorate office on January 7.

“The Una flogging incident had deprived us of our fundamental rights and employment,” said Sarvaiya. “Now, the officials of the government have been acting as if we do not belong to this country. If we cannot be considered citizens, then our citizenship must be cancelled and we should be deported to a country where we will not face discrimination.”

Following widespread criticism, the state government had promised speedy justice by appointing a special court and a special public prosecutor. The victims said they were also promised agriculture land, plots for houses, and employment. “She [former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel] had said she would visit us again in a month,” said Sarvaiya. “But neither she nor any state government representative met us or fulfill any of the promises.”

Sarvaiya said they should be allowed to choose euthanasia if the president cannot guarantee their rights. He also threatened to immolate themselves outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan if their plea is not considered. “I have to say this as the government has not responded to our several pleas seeking justice,” he added.

In November 2018 too, Sarvaiya wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind about the case. He had said that former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had failed to keep the promises she made to them in 2016 following the incident.

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