Clashes as hundreds protest attack on low-caste Indians


A police officer was killed on Tuesday when violence broke out at a demonstration in western India to protest an attack on low-caste villagers by cow protection vigilantes.

Police fired teargas shells and used sticks to try to control stone-throwing crowds angered by attempts to stop them from demonstrating in western Gujarat state.

Hundreds of people have been detained as authorities try to contain the unrest, which began on Monday and has since spread.

One senior officer was fatally wounded in Tuesday’s clashes and several more suffered minor injuries, the local superintendent of police J A Patel told AFP.

The protests erupted after video footage emerged of an attack last week on four villagers from the lowest Dalit caste who were taking a dead cow to be skinned.

Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and killing them is banned in Gujarat, but the villagers said the animal had died of natural causes.

Low-caste villagers are commonly tasked with removing the corpses of dead cows from the streets of India, where the animals often roam freely.