Skip to main content

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

Martin Macwan (left) next to "14 Pe Charcha" poster. Right: Dalit rights meet
By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.
Held at the Dalit Shakti Kendra, a Dalit youth empowerment and training centre set up about two decades ago by top human rights activist Martin Macwan, the meet simultaneously resolved to send thousands of pre-printed postcards to Modi saying a "No" to CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), because they run against the spirit of Article 14, which promises equality to all before law, irrespective of religion, caste, creed, race, region and sex.
Attended by hundreds of Dalit activists from across Gujarat, Macwan, who came up with the twin resolutions adopted at the meet, said, “As CAA and NRC directly undermine the concept of equality before law, which is basic to the Indian Constitution, Dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed sections of society would take out a rally with the participation of 14,000 people on April 14. Till then, activists will go to villages and towns with the message as to why CAA and NRC isn’t just about Muslims, as the Government of India claims, but all those who fight for equal status."
Detention centres exist in Ahmedabad, off Sarkhej area, where  'Bangladeshis' are randomly picked up, kept for interrogation
Macwan told the meet, “The Modi government has sought to camouflage its real intention of undermining Article 14 by stating in the CAA is about providing shelter and citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in India, with the exception of Muslims. But what about Dalits’ religious persecution in India? Our survey suggests that 90% of villages prohibit entry of Dalits into temples.”
Gagan Sethi, Ghanshyam Shah, Uttam Parmar
Also pointing towards how “Dalit Valmikis, who are the most oppressed section in Hindu hierarchy, alone are involved in caste-based job of manual scavenging even today”, Macwan said, “We would be demanding from the Government of India to create a new register, of the villages which don't permit entry of Dalits into temples, irrespective of religion. Also, we would be demanding that from the Prime Minister declare India untouchability free on the next Independence day, August 15, 2020.”
Addressing the meet, well-known development expert and gender trainer Gagan Sethi, founder of the NGO Janvikas, revealed that detention centres for so-called foreigners weren’t there just in Assam, where the NRC process has been completed by declaring about 19 lakh people as non-citizens, 60% of them Hindus. “I have myself discovered that three detention centres exist even in Ahmedabad, off Sarkhej area. Here, those identified as Bangladeshis are randomly picked up for interrogation and kept for around three weeks”, he said.
Former BJP MLA from Rajkot, now independent Dalit leader Siddharth Parmar, told the meet that the current fight is between the Indian Constitution, authored by Dr BR Ambedkar, and those who want that the country to live by the codes scripted in the ancient treatise Manusmriti. “The real intention of the government is revive Manusmriti, which codifies inequalities, even as undermining the equality focus of the Constitution”, he said.
Siddharth Parmar
Striking a similar chord, Uttam Parmar, a South Gujarat Gandhian activist, said, “CAA and NRC are not just about excluding Muslims, as our rulers are propagating. It’s about seeking exclusion of Dalits, Adivasis, Other Backward Classes, who have been legally recognized equal by the Indian Constitution. Our rulers are unable to reconcile themselves with the revolution brought about by Gandhiji and Dr Ambedkar through the Constitution by providing equality before law. They are trying to divide the country on communal lines. It is well known who pitted Dalits against Muslims during the 2002 Gujarat riots."
Recalling that the meet, held on December 25, which happens to be the anniversary of Dr Ambedkar’s campaign against Manusmriti by burning it on December 25, 1927, well-known academic Prof Ghanshyam Shah said, “The Manusmriti burning wasn’t just burning of a book. It was a symbolic gesture to burn the idea of inequality, codified in the ancient treatise.” He wondered whether, through CAA, India was following Pakistan by making religion as the basis for citizenship. “Our rulers must remember, India’s Constitution is not Pakistan’s, which provides supremacy to a particular religion”, he said.

Comments

TRENDING

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.