Dr Ratan Lal
Youth for Buddhist India had organized a protest at Jantar Mantar chiefly for atrocities being committed on Dalits. The protest also included a three minute silence for the MPs from Dalit, Tribal and OBC backgrounds because of their indifference towards their communities.
I was also a part of the programme. The stage of the programme was constructed near the four way lane (चौराहा) near Jantar Mantar. At about fifty metres distance Singh Sena and Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha had also organized a programme. Approximately hundred members of Singh Sena marched towards the barricade (the place where Youth for Buddhist India had set up the stage.
The question that arises now is: why did Delhi police officials allow them to proceed there? Did the administration and the government plan the attack?
Secondly, why is the government promoting such medieval and barbaric caste organisations? Even a barely educated person can understand that castes which were oppressed for thousands for years were placed under the Schedules of the Constitution. Therefore, they are castes which have the constitutional right to organise for their rights. National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have also been formed to protect their rights.
But castes which find no mention in the Constitution have no right to form caste based organisations as per the Constitution. In spite of this, such organisations are thriving like mushrooms. If the government is serious about protecting Dalits and Tribals, then it must immediately ban these organisations.
Reports have been lodged by both sides at Parliament Street Police station. At first Singh Sena activists gheraoed the police station. It has been heard that Singh Sena activists have also complained that Dalits beat them up. But I am worried that if the news of Dalits beating Singh Sena activists spreads then they would become the subject of mockery. What would people say?
Perhaps this is the reason mainstream media is not showing this news, it would lead to loss of face in the whole country. The police cut off the electricity connection. But the main feature of this programme was that a three minute silence was observed for the MPs who are tongue tied over the issues of social justice for Dalit, tribal and backward caste MPs. Such an attack on Dalits in the National Capital shows that the situation of Dalits and Tribals is deteriorating even after 70 years of independence.
But I believe that the Dalit movement is marching forward with great self confidence. Such an attack is an indication of the fear which Manuwadis are feeling. We must be cautious because as the Dalit movement marches forward such attacks would become more frequent. At the time of writing of this article, news has been received that merely 10-12 activists from Youth for Buddhist India are present at Parliament street police station. But prominent leaders from Singh Sena have arrived and are apologising and pleading for a settlement of the case. What is the hurry? Why not fight the case in court with the same confidence with which you attacked? Salute and Jai Bhim for the courage and fearlessness of Youth for Buddhist India activists who fought and are fighting now.
Translated from Hindi by Neha Singh.
Dr Ratan Lal teaches history at Hindu College, New Delhi.
Picture courtesy: the internet.