Amid mounting anger over the Hathras case, around 236 people from 50 families belonging to the Valmiki community have reportedly embraced Buddhism in Ghaziabad. The incident was reported from Karheda area of Ghaziabad and is said to be from October 14, when 236 people of the Valmiki community, residing in the area, came together and decided to embrace Buddhism in the presence of Rajaratna Ambedkar, the great-grandson of Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
The families alleged that they have been hurt by the Hathras incident and say that despite facing financial crises, their woes were not heard. The video of the incident has also surfaced in which Rajaratna Ambedkar can be seen initiating the people into Buddhism. The families have also been given a certificate by the Indian Buddhist General Assembly.
Bir Singh, one of the people who took to Buddhism, said, “236 people from 50 families of his village have converted to Buddhism, including women and children. Also, no fees was taken for this. After adopting Buddhism, we have been told to undertake good activities like social service.”
It is worth noting that on September 14, in Bulgadhi village of Hathras, outrage erupted after the murder and alleged gangrape of a girl from the Valmiki community. After the incident, the Valmiki Samaj protested and staged various demonstrations. CBI is currently investigating this case and all four accused are lodged in Aligarh Jail.
Protests had broken out in several districts of the state after a girl from Valmiki community was allegedly raped by four upper caste men in Hathras on September 14. She succumbed to severe assault injuries at a Delhi hospital a fortnight later, which was followed by a hushed-up cremation, allegedly forced by the Hathras district administration.
The four men allegedly gang-raped a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Bulgadhi village of UP's Hathras district and then tried to strangulate her. The victim was later admitted to Aligarh Medical College but was later shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi after her condition worsened. The victim succumbed to her injuries on September 29 while undergoing treatment.
Officials of the district administration then cremated the victim's body in the middle of the night at 3 am in spite of most family members opposing the midnight cremation. Following the incident, anger spilled on the roads and social media. Several opposition parties also attacked the Uttar Pradesh government on the issue. Notably, “shocked” by the incident, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had on October 1 summoned top government officials.