Moradabad: For 70 years, members of the Valmiki community in Uttar Pradesh’s village were denied a haircut due to an upper-caste diktat. That changed only after they threatened to convert to Islam.
Describing Yogi Sarkar of Uttar Pradesh as anti-Dalit, families of fifty Valmiki communities of Moradabad district have threatened to abandon Hinduism and adopt Islam.
For decades since Independence, Valmikis have allegedly not been allowed to get haircuts or shaves from the village barbers, because upper castes declared they would boycott the “impure and unhyegenic” razors.
A month ago, however, a Muslim barber agreed to give haircuts to a Valmiki family. But he refused to attend to them when they later on turned up for a shave, allegedly pressure from the BJP activists; this snowballed into a major agitation, with all the Valmikis of the village threatening to convert to Islam.
People accused the BJP of being anti-Dalit and sacked statues of gods and goddesses of Hindu religion in Ramganga River in their homes. They immersed the idols and the images in the nearby river.
The activists of Bajrang Dal had also come and made desperate attempts to persuade them but the people of Valmiki community refused to budge and threaten to read namaz and would adopt Islam.
Valmiki is a Dalit community which has historically faced exclusion and oppression in the upper caste-dominated society and has frequently been affected by anti-Dalit violence and repression by members of other castes.
With PTI inputs