Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Unite against RSS ideology in order to fight atrocities on Dalits, exhorts Ambedkar's grandson at Rajkot rally

By Our Representative
A major Dalit rights national meet on Wednesday at Rajkot, the nerve centre of Gujarat’s Saurashtra region, saw Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar, making a frontal attack on the RSS, pointing out that the “BJP is nothing but its front organization.” He asked all those who stand for Dalit rights to come on one platform, and shedding political differences, fight RSS ideology.
Planned as the first in a series of national-level meets, the rally, held at the Chaudhary School compound, was not organized by any one individual or organization. “It was supported by several organizations and individuals committed to annihilation of caste and promote of equality. Representatives from as many as 16 states participated”, said an organizer. Each organization came with its own banner.
Insisting on the need is to fight the ideology of RSS, Ambedkar – who is likely to be the focal point to unite all Dalit rights organizations under Dalit Swabhiman Sangharsh Manch – said, incidents like the one happened in Una on July 11, in which cow vigilantes attacked Dalit youths scavenging a dead cattle, were a direct result of the spread of the RSS ideology.
"Till now, the RSS attacked the Muslims, and now the targets are Dalit, too. Both should come together to fight the RSS ideology", he said addressing the 15,000-strong rally, which passed off peacefully. Ambedkar specially criticized the RSS for offering prayers to arms and ammunition on Dussehra, suggesting this shows its mindset wedded to violence. “There was a time when, in the feudal era, rajas and maharajas would do this, now it is the RSS which is doing it”, he said.
Asking the gathering, which had a huge Muslim gathering, Ambedkar, considered the only known Dalit leader who has not been coopted by the BJP, announced that the next big Dalit rights rally would at Parliament street in New Delhi on September 16.
Speaking on the occasion, Ashok Bharti, chairman, National Confederation of Dalit Organizations (NACDOR), the apex body of Dalit rights NGOs of India, called for the annihilation of Brahminism, Martin Macwan, Gujarat’s most well-known Dalit rights activist and founder of Navsarjan Trust, read out a series of questions which all Dalits should ask political parties and elicit answers.
The questions that should be ask, he said, included whether they agreed to end manual scavenging, which happens to be a caste based occupation; whether they would work for the allocation of five acres of agricultural land to rehabilitate cattle skinners; whether they want that all sanitation workers should be regularized in government jobs; and whether they agreed to ban illegal activities of the cow vigilantes begin criminal prosecution.
A major attraction of the Rajkot rally was the pledge, instituted by Macwan, to 1,000 Dalit youths that they would never abandon their mothers, unlike the so-called cow protectors, who – even as calling cow their mother, left the aging ones in shelter homes. A pledge was also taken from the Dalits to follow the path of Gautam Buddha, who stood for equality for all.
Speakers at the rally, who included Prof Sukdheo Thorat, a well-known academic, and Baba Adhav, a veteran Maharashtra activist, and Siddharth Parmar, former Rajkot MLA, who resigned from the BJP in 2007, insisted on the need to introduce reservation policy in the private sector, and having a special session of Parliament to release a black paper on prevailing status of untouchability after 69 years of India’s independence.
They highlighted how, during the 1995-2014, Dalits have been victims of 2.43 lakh incidence of caste discrimination and atrocities in India, with annual average of about 13,000 cases in India.
The speakers from Gujarat highlighted how Gujarat was indifferent towards atrocities against Dalits, pointing towards chief minister holding just seven out of 43 under the high-level committee formed to monitor atrocities against Dalits. In the last three years there were no meetings of the monitoring committee, it was pointed out.

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