Skip to main content

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

Martin Macwan
By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.
An explanatory note on what CAA should mean to Dalits, who have in actual fact not been acknowledged as equal citizens of India even 73 years after they became the country’s citizens, says, at a time when BJP is talking of providing shelter to all religious minorities, except Muslims, persecuted in the three neighbouring countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, India’s own Dalits “continue to be victims of untouchability and manual scavenging.”
Pointing out that are yet to be treated as ‘equal’ citizens, Martin Macwan, who has authored the note, says, “Despite being Hindu, they are refused permission to enter into temples or cremate bodies on common cremation grounds. If this is not religious intolerance then what is it? Dalits among Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs face a similar predicament.”
Wondering if there is any way to ensure that India’s 21.5 crore or 16.5% Dalits do not become victims of religious abuse, Macwan, who is recipient of the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award, says, “The 2014 Lok Sabha elections saw BJP and its supporters gain majority in the Lok Sabha because of the reserved seats of Adivasis-Dalits, yet government figures show that atrocities against under their rule against Adivasis-Dalits have gone up.”
Despite being India's equal citizens on paper, India’s 21.5 crore or 16.5% Dalits, continue to be victims of religious abuse
“How can one expect the Central government, which has failed to stop atrocities against its own citizens, to provide solace to those living in other countries?”, wonders Macwan, suggesting, what CAA is doing is to negate what top Dalit icon, Dr BR Ambedkar, did on December 25, 1927, to put on fire Manusmriti, the ancient treatise which gave religious sanctity to unequal status to Dalits.
Pointing out that Dr Ambedkar’s campaign was for equal status to Dalits who faced religious persecution at the hands of those who were wedded to the thoughts and views Manusmriti, Macwan says, Dr Ambedkar’s campaign was not against any particular religion, but against injustice.
Anti-CAA protest: Historian Ram Chandra Guha with Ambedkar poster
“Hindu leaders also participated in the programme and put on fire Manusmriti. Dr Ambedkar’s was not against any particular religion but was against those who are taking shelter of religion for irreligious acts”, he says.The Constitution was unanimously adopted by all the elected members of Parliament, irrespective of their religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, in 1950”, says Macwan, citing how CAA, even as seeking to provide citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and Jains, has refused to provide a similar status to Muslims, which is contrary to the Constitutional values.
“Seventy years on, BJP and its allies want to remove the provision of equality before law, guaranteed by the Constitution”, he says.
Also noting how, over the years, Adivasis of India have been progressively deprived of their equal rights, guarantees by the Constitution’s Articles 14 and 15, Macwan regrets, refugees seeking to resettle in India were invariably dumped on tribal land. Thus, “the 1931 census figures show that Tripura had 56.37% Adivasi population, which went down to 28.44% in 2011. Even as the proportion of the local people went down, their landownership, employment and political power also went down. The same thing happened in Assam.”
According to Macwan, “Coming under the sixth schedule of the Constitution, all the north-eastern states have seen Adivasis losing their control over land, property, jobs. According to a Planning Commission report, though the Adivasi population in the country is 8.08%, the refugees are sought to be settled in those areas where the Adivasi population is 40% or more.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.