Thousands assembled for the Dalit Mahasammelan held in Sabarmati, Gujarat to protest against the increasing vigilantism by Gau Rakshaks. The gathering was specially sparked by the public beating of two Dalit men in Una, Gujarat. On social media, users cited that around 15,000 to 20,000 people attended the gathering, where they pledged to completely stop picking up cow carcasses.
The large gathering saw Dalits share stories of discrimination and official neglect, while much of the reportage on the rally – at least the sort that made it into the English media – focused on the arrangement of the event: which ground it was held in, what kind of police deployment was going to be required and so on.
Some commenters on social media due to lack of minority representation in the media. As a result of this, attendees of the event resorted to social media by resorting to a form of citizen journalism: posts were doing the rounds listing what had happened, how many had attended and what was said.
Videos and images uploaded to social media that were shared widely captured the scenes at the sammelan: the mass participation, the slogans being chanted and the flags being waved. In the video below, singers Vinay Mahajan and Charul Bharwada can be heard singing one of their protest songs to loud cheers as other people in the audience also join in.
In the video below, the speakers – to loud cheers – yell out a call to action to fight atrocities committed against Dalits across the country.
Photos showed attendees carrying photographs of BR Ambedkar and Dalit research scholar Rohit Vemula, whose suicide sparked nationwide protests.
In the aftermath of the sammelan, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel offered to resign citing "her age as a reason".