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Kerala Left admin, Sangh Parivar "come together" to oppose protest against anti-Dalit "caste wall" around temple

By Our Representative
Is Kerala’s Left government, headed by CPI-M, taking the same stance as that of Sangh Parivar on the contentious issue of Kerala’s Nair Service Society (NSS) allegedly forcibly seeking to occupy a public ground surrounding the Vadayambadi Temple in Vadayambadi in Ernakulam district, Kerala, being opposed by the Dalit rights group Bhoo Avakasha Samara Munnani?
It would seem so, if information provided by the National National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the apex body of tens of mass organizations of India, is any indication. “Fortifying their occupation, NSS has built a ‘caste wall’ in order to prevent the Dalits entering the temple”, NAPM has contended in a statement.
Pointing towards how the Left government administration is behaving, NAPM said, if the district collector "denied the permission to conduct a Dalit convention" to make its view opposing the 'caste wall' known early this month, threatening protesters for "any possible circumstances", Sangh Parivar "goons and other right-wing fundamentalists approached the protest site and created ruckus by manhandling and threatening the protesters”.
The NAPM statement particularly criticised the Kerala police for using "brutal force" against activists of the land rights movement, Dalit Bhoo Avakasha Samara Munnani, which wants the open ground to be made available for public, even as seeking "demolition of the ‘caste wall’."
It said, even when the convention was taking place peacefully, the police "broke-in, and activists, including Chairman of Samara Munnani, CS Murali (President of Kerala Dalit Masabha), Gomathi and Penpillai Orumai, were injured. Activists present at the protest site were dragged through the road and arrested.”
Pointing out that, on Ambedkar Jayanti last year, a similar wall erected by NSS was “pulled down by protesters”, NAPM said, “NSS then went on occupying the land producing fake land records and promptly built a huge arch entrance including a wall", adding, “The present protest programme, demanding the demolition of the wall, has been continuously facing threats from the government and police since its beginning."
Noting that there have been “successive attacks on the protest site and arrest of activists and even the media persons”, NAPM said, “During a similar incident on January 21, two journalists Abhilash Padacheri and Ananthu Rajagopal Asha, along with one of the leaders of the movement, Sasidharan, were arrested on false charges.” One activist, VK Joy, was also put into custody, and is "still behind the bars."
Calling the Kerala government’s attitude towards the protesters “anti-Dalit”, criticizing it for unleashing “police raj”, NAPM said, “The protesters are bing continuously harassed by the state officials in order to suppress the voice of dissent.”
“As of now, police seems to be silent and not ready to take any action against the perpetrators”, NAPM said, adding, “In contrast to the lawful duty entrusted upon a public servant, The SI of the concerned police station has been trying his best to suppress the movement with different means, including public caste defamation.”
“He is same person who led the force today to the arrests... Among the activists, Gomathi, has been badly injured during the police action and was denied the hospital facility. Dr PG Hari, who questioned this discrimination at the police station, had to face their rage and he was physically manhandled by the policemen.”
Those who have endorsed the statement include well-known social activists Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Prafulla Samantara, P Chennaiah, Binayak Sen, Kavita Srivastava,Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Sandeep Pandey, Sister Celia, Maj Gen (Retd) SGVombatkere, Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan, Prof Kusumam NAPM, Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, and others.

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