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Arrest that Shook the System

 

Kunal Dhande

Kunal Dhande"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death." - Thomas Paine

Introduction

BKM (Bahujan Kranti Morcha) is a platform established in mid-2016 by BAMCEF in Maharashtra. Its main objective is to organise people from all religions and caste organisations under a common minimum programme on anti-brahminism and current Indian situation where fundamental rights are infringed upon by the present government. It was realised by BAMCEF that today we are not only divided on the basis of caste identity, but also organizational identity. A person from 'A' organization criticizes 'B' organisation, while 'B' criticizes 'C' and so on. A need was felt to organize the organizations belonging to Bahujans. That's why BKM devised a new plan to deal with this situation because it seems to know the basic fact of democracy: 'divided we fall and united we stand'. So the plan was to establish a platform rather than establishing BKM as an organization. All the likeminded organization are to come under this name and will work together. Today's fight demands working together rather than as individual organisations. For the purpose of decision-making a coordinating committee was made which has representatives from different listed organizations.

It should be noted that BKM was organised when Maratha Kranti (Mukh) Morcha was making news in Maharashtra. But their rallies for reservation were spreading discontent among SC, ST and OBCs as these communities thought that Marathas were going to take away a part from their reserved seats. This feeling among SC, ST and OBCs would have taken a form of caste conflict among these communities and there would have been a repetition of conflict along the lines of the Maratha- Dalit waad (conflict).This was also taken care of by BKM. They come on the streets for Maratha reservation with a demand which can be explained in these terms: "Marathas must be given reservation without interfering with the present reservation quotas of SC,ST and OBCs." This meant increasing the limit of reservation from 50%. It was first launched in Maharashtra to not only strengthen the demand of Maratha reservation but also include the demands raised by other communities under the Bahujan umbrella. One of the notable differences from the point of social polarization between BKM and MKM is that the former is a national organisation whereas MKM is a state level organisation. MKM has only a Maratha base. BKM has whole Bahujan umbrella including Marathas to take in hand.

Its first rally was conducted on 24 October 2016 in Ahmednagar (a district where many atrocities against SC/STs take place) which was attended by lakhs of bahujans. Its major demands were i) to make the atrocity act more tough than it is and to establish separate courts and administration for its implementation, ii) to award capital punishment to the accused in the Kopardi case, iii) to do caste based census to identify who are OBC and give them representation proportionate to their population, iv) VJNT should be given protection under the atrocities act, v) Sachar commission's recommendations should be implemented and Muslims should be given reservation in proportion to thier population, vi) to make Communal Rights Protection act for Minorities (Muslims, Sikhs, Lingayats, Christians, Buddhists, Jains). It was supported by many influential organizations of Maharashtra, like the RPI (Republican Party of India), many Bahujan organisations, different political parties and religious organisations of Buddhists, Jains, Muslims etc. These type of rallies by various organizations were then conducted in prominent cities of Maharashtra: for example, in Pune on 6th November 2016 and 18th December 2016, in Yavatmal on 16th December 2016, in Solapur on 26th December 2016, in Buldana on 29TH December 2016, in Parbhani on 17th January 2017, in Satara on 15th January 2017, in Sindhudurg on 8th jan 2017, in Mumbai on 21st January 2017 etc and in various other places.

Experiment in Maharashtra

After conducting various programs all over Maharashtra at various places, it decided to launch a Parivartan Yatra to organize people from all the corners of the country. It made first such attempt in Maharashtra. Maharashtra Parivartan Yatra started from Nagpur on 24th April 2018 and ended on 3rd June 2018 in Pune. This state level Parivartan Yatra had covered 367 talukas of 36 districts of Maharashtra under the presidentship of Hon'ble Waman Meshram (National President of BAMCEF & Bharat Mukti Morcha). This Parivartan Yatra made the common public aware of their mental slavery. These yatras are conducted in their own way. First, the crowd takes out a rally for some kilometres with slogans like "Ekach parv, Bahujan sarv", then president of the program gets felicitated by the people. Then the crowd gathers in the scheduled place where all the guests and the president of the program deliver speeches. It started from Nagpur where leaders of various organizations from all over India were present. Simranjit Singh Mann (Shirmomani Akali Dal, Amritsar), Maulana Sajjad Nomani (Muslim Personal Law Board), Madame Benjamin (Alpha Omega Christian Mahila Mahasangh), Salkhan Murmu (ST leader, Jharkhand), Korneshwar Swami (Rashtriya Lingayat Morcha) were among the notable attendees of the program.

It was seen on many occasions that brahmin dominated administration had tried to create many problems, especially denying permission for rallies and programs. They had done that going against the SC judgements and the Constitution. One such incident happened at Mumbai where activists had applied for the police permission 15 days before the event. The police administration consciously did not reply to it, and when they started their rally a strong argument took place between the Police officers and Waman Meshram who was leading the rally. Police wasted the scheduled time of the citizens when they wanted to exercise their Fundamental Right as per Article 19(a). Mr. Meshram then decided to do 'Jail Bharo Andolan Against the Violation of Their Fundamental Rights' which was successfully conducted with thousands going to jail; but was not covered by the media.

waman meshram

National Parivartan Yatra

After successfully conducting its yatra all over Maharashtra. it decided to conduct the Parivartan Yatra all over India. It was conducted from 7th August 2018 to 5th November 2018 in MP, chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Odisha, Chandigarh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Delhi and Punjab. This National Parivartan Yatra started from Madhya Pradesh, 7th August to 24th September. Parivartan Yatra UP was held from 15th September, 2018 to 6th October,2018; Punjab Parivartan Yatra was held from 9th October, 2018 to 4th November 2018, Rajashthan Parivartan Yatra from 16th August 2018 to 17th September 2018, Parivartan Yatra J&K from 10th Sept. to 14th Sept. 2018, Bihar Parivartan Yatra from 23 Sept. 2018 etc. These yatras were presided over by BAMCEF cadre. In all these yatras, Brahmanical forces tried to create hindrances through the administration. The most notable was the Parivartan Yatra of Gujarat explained below.

Gujarat Parivartan Yatra and Arrest of Waman Meshram

Gujarat Parivartan Yatra which was held on 18th September 2018 from Nakhatana of Kutch District and the concluding program was scheduled to be held at Ahmedabad on 22nd Oct 2018. According to sources, Gujarat BJP ruled Brahmanical administration always tries not to give permission and security to the programs presided by Waman Meshram. Organisations like Karni Sena had also thrown stones at the BKM program which was conducted on 21st Oct at Samli near Kutch in the presence of Premkumar Gedam and V.L. Matang. Mr. Gedam suffered from a injury due to it. Police had taken 12 people into custody but left them free after some hours without taking any action. Even in the past, many organizations belonging to Brahmins which are affiliated to the RSS had made their efforts to stop the programs of BAMCEF, BMM AND BKM. In 2015, 3500 Brahmins had protested against the Mr. Meshram's program in Kutch, Gujarat.

This time too Brahmin organisation Bhudev Shakti had first made a request to the administration to stop Mr. Meshram from conducting the program. Then Parth Pathak on behalf of Brahmdev Samiti had also filed a petition in Gujarat High Court. Gujarat High Court ruled in favour of Mr. Meshram as it is the fundamental right of any person residing in India to give speeches and express his opinion. There are posts available on Facebook where Brahmins from Bhudev Shakti threatening to kill Waman Meshram and also abusing him. Going against the constitution, the administration finally denied the permission for the program. Waman Meshram (National Co- Ordinator of the BKM) took the decision of doing Jail Bharo all over India against the violation of their fundamental rights. The police had also performed a lathi charge on the people who were peacefully, without any arms, participating in the rally at Chandkheda. Whole BKM activity was taking place under the constitution limits as set by 19(6) and the restriction on these rights under Article 19(1) can only be imposed by law and not executive or departmental instructions. The police had also allowed the general public to beat the BKM activists. Not only men but women and children were also injured by the the police. Though lathi charge was started by the police, the local newspaper passed this blame on to the activists, saying that they were the ones who first started violent activity. This shows how the brahminical minds work against the constitution at each and every pillar of democratice structure. It can easily be seen from the video who started the lathi charge.

After declaring Jail Bharo all over India, the first man who went the police station peacefully was Waman Meshram. He himself went into the custody of the police, following the law, nearly at 5 pm on 22nd Oct. After his arrest, all the activists of BKM all over India went to jail themselves for Jail Bharo Andolan. Within 5 hours, police stations from hundreds of districts from India were seen filled with thousands of activists of BKM. It is very commendable as it shows how the roots of democracy have deepened in the minds of these activists, as with one call many activists had participated in the Jail Bharo movement against the violation of fundamental rights. Indian Lawyers Association had formed a team of lawyers from 10 states for the release of Mr. Waman Meshram. I had tried to analyse how his fundamental rights were violated in relation to the situation he was thrown in by the Gujarat police in the following listed situations:

* They are not allowed to conduct their program and rally in violation of their fundamental rights under Article 19(a), 19(b), 19(d). And there is no reasonable restriction which can be said to be vaild reason for not allowing the conduct of this rally and program.

* When he reached the Chandkheda police station for going into police custody peacefully, a police officer who was not in police uniform attacked him with lathi but he was saved by his wife. Rather than giving protection, the police authorities tried to harm him violating the constitutional mandate under Article 21.

A) The police station does not have basic facilities such as a door for the toilet and the toilet room was too dirty for use.

B) They (activists) are not provided lunch and breakfast even they are not allowed to consume the food brought to them by their friends or relatives.

C) They (police) showed little compassion when Mr. Meshram, who suffers from diabetes, wanted to take his medicine which was necessary to be taken on time. On occupational health and safety, ruling on Association v. Union of India the Supreme Court held that right to health i.e. right ro live in a clean, hygienic and safe environment is a right flowing from Article 21. This was denied to Mr. Meshram and his followers.

The jail rooms lacked space; no person detained there could sleep or live humanly in it.

* In Ramlila Maidan v. Home Secretary, Union of India, Justice Dr. B. S. Chauhan had observed that, "sleep is necessity and not a luxury. It is necessary for optimal health and happiness as it directly affects the quality of the life of an individual when awake inducing the mental sharpness, emotional balance, creativity and vitality"

He further added that the deprivation of sleep would result in mental and physical torture.

* In Gujarat High Court in Aniruddhsinh Mahipatsinh Jadeja v. State of Gujarat and Ors, on 14 August 2001, H. Rathod, Single Judge Bench, observed that, "whether inside prison or outside, a person shall not be deprived of his guaranteed freedom save by methods 'right, just and fair.' A prisoner wears the armour of basic freedom even behind bars and that on breach thereof by lawless officials the law will respond to his distress signals through 'writ aid' "

Conclusion

Police administration had acted going against the Gujarat High Court judgement which was in favour of the Parivartan Yatra. Bhudev Yuva Shakti, a organization of Brahmins didn't want that activists of the BKM should exercise their fundamental right. Rather than detaining Bhudev Yuva Shakti activists for not allowing others to exercise their fundamental rights, police administration rejected the permission of the program scheduled to be conducted within the limits of the constitution. This behaviour of Gujarat Police is against the Supreme Court judgements, constitution and human rights. One or the other way the administration had acted in favour of Brahmins outfit. It is also a notable that the system had not tried to detain Mr. Meshram for more than a day. The reason seems that various organizations, at national as well as international level, had started to criticize the Gujarat government.

At national level, leaders like Jignesh Mevani had protested against the arrest of Mr. Meshram on his official Facebook page. Chandrashekhar Azad chief of Bhim Army had also posted a video protesting against the arrest. Simranjit Singh Mann (Shiromani Akali Dal) had conducted a press conference against the arrest. Akali Dal (Amritsar) USA and BAMCEF had also protested against the arrest in Canada making it international news. Maulana Abdul Hameed Azhari of Rashtriya Muslim Morcha had also condemned the arrest. It seems that the system was fearful about the spreading of the news. More days Mr. Meshram spent in jail, more the sympathy he collects from the public. It not only increases his following but also helps him achieve his aims with mass suppport. It seems that Brahminical minds are fully aware of the fact. Because continuation of his arrest was bringing all the Bahujan leaders together as explained above. That's why they had taken a step back and not made any effort for continuation of detention of Mr. Meshram.

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References

1. Bahujan Kranti Morcha Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/999413860188328/photos/1753121018150938

2. MN TV youtube channel - https://www.facebook.com/1809597039253249/photos/2013559302190354/

3. National Dastak

4. Waman meshram Facebook page-https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=314791235299088&ref=br_rs

5. Kumar Kale (National Co-ordinator, BKM)

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Kunal Dhande is a student at Student in Government Law College, Mumbai.

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