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Dalits in Lucknow protest, threaten conversion to Buddhism

Courtesy: Justice news

LUCKNOW: A group of social organisations working among Dalits have asked the members to embrace Buddhism as a mark of protest against the rising incidents of atrocities on Dalits. The members of the organisations will also hold a demonstration in Lucknow on Sunday before formally handing over a memorandum addressed to UP chief minister Aditya Nath Yogi and governor Ram Naik apprising them about their intentions.

The development comes a day after nearly 180 families in Saharanpur immersed idols of Hindu deities in a river before embracing Buddhism. “We need to embrace another religion as we are not safe in Hinduism,” said S P Kureel, president of Buddha Ambedkari Missionary Social Educational Foundation (BAMSEF), the organisation which would lead the protest in Lucknow.

Kureel claimed that nearly 17 more associations have agreed to participate in the demonstration. “By embracing Buddism, members of the Dalit community will be able to attract the attention of the international community,” he said. Aditya Kumar, a member of an association called Lakshya, said a formal date for adopting Buddhism may be decided after the demonstration in Lucknow.

The protest in Lucknow comes on the sidelines of a proposed demonstration by Dalit organisations in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Sunday in protest of attack on members of Bheem Army in Saharanpur. Hundreds of members of various Dalit organisations are already reported to have reached the national capital.

Kureel said the rise in the number of incidents against Dalits has triggered unrest within the community. “One issue or the other related to atrocity on Dalits have been cropping up in the last many months…be it the case of Rohith Vemula, justice Karnan or the recent attack on Dalits in Saharanpur. We need to take a concrete decision and act accordingly,” he said while speaking to TOI.

Political experts said the sign of unrest within Dalits may also be indicative of a growing assertion with increased level of education and awareness.

“More importantly, this assertion is coming through without the involvement of the political class,” said Dalit ideologue and commentator, S R Darapuri. He said this kind of reaction was bound to increase if issues related to Dalits went unaddressed.