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Dalit writer attacked: Is this how you teach humanism, Mr Bhagwat?


Around the time when RSS chief urging Hindus to “fight discrimination and teach humanism to this world, however his followers doing exactly the opposite in Davangere, Karnataka.

Days ago a Dalit writer Huchangi Prasad was attacked in Karnataka for writing against the caste system. He says the attackers were obviously from a right wing group.

In the wee hours of 22 October, someone knocked the door of Huchangi Prasad, a young Dalit writer staying in the SC/ST hostel of the Davangere University, and told him his mother had been hospitalized after a heart attack.

Tense, Prasad followed the stranger, who offered to take him to the hospital. Instead of hospital, the writer was led to an isolated area, where 8-10 people surrounded and assaulted him. They also abused him, saying he was “anti-Hindu” for writing against the caste system.

“They put vermillion all over my face.One even pulled out a knife and said he will cut off my fingers so that I can never write again,” Prasad told The Hindu.

He said he managed to shove them aside and run to nearby woods, where he hid until the attackers left. The police have lodged a case against “unknown persons” for attempt to murder and under the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

In his speech on the occasion of Dussehra, Bhagwat had recalled BR Ambedkar’s “lifelong struggle against injustices of social inequality.” A Dalit writer like Prasad is fighting precisely this social inequality though he may not even be a blip on the RSS chief’s radar. Now what Bhagwat says now about this inequality, and rising intolerance.

The son of daily wagers from Santhebennur in Davangere is studying journalism at the Davangere University published a collection of essays and poems, Odala Kichchu (The Burning Inside), which largely depicted caste discrimination and the pains he himself had experienced as a Dalit.

The attack on Prasad is the latest instance of a campaign to stifle free speech in Karnataka. What is astonishing and saddening about this is that the state has a liberal tradition dating back centuries.

“Karnataka was known for its liberal views and tolerance. But now I feel very sad that a young Dalit boy is not allowed to express his pain and anguish” says Siddalingaiah, one of the most prominent Dalit writers.

Siddalingaiah said the recent incidents of intolerance are a challenge to India, which has long been known for communal harmony.

“The RSS wants to build not just a Hindu Rashtra, but a society where only the upper castes have a voice,” Prof Rao told Catch. “They will not tolerate the writings of Dalits, women and Muslims.”

He warned that unless Modi takes “drastic action” to stop the rabid elements in his ideological camp, he will have to contend with a strong “resistance movement”.

Not just the BJP and the RSS, the people will have to take on the Congress as well to curb the growing intolerance, Prof Rao said.

“There is not much difference between the BJP and the Congress,” and we will have to fight both,” Prof Rao said.

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