Bhopal: The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), will hold demonstrations in Delhi and other parts of the country on April 6 in the support of the Dalits’ cause who are seen at the receiving end always and more so after the rise of Hindutva politics which has coincided with the decline of Dalit parties like the BSP and opened up caste fault-lines in northern India.
Muhammad Shafi, general secretary of SDPI, in a statement said that the simmering discontent among the members of Dalit community who staged a protest during “Bharat Bandh” called by Dalit organisations against the alleged dilution of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Act by the recent Supreme Court order turned violent and indulged in acts of vandalism, arson and loot reportedly from a number of places from Maharashtra to Bihar states resulting in more than a dozen deaths has to be condemned at the foremost. It is evident that some armed groups of people from upper caste have unleashed violence to demoralize this genuine protest.
Shafi, however, said the shift in the balance of political power is now manifest in the anti-Dalit violence, reported at alarming frequency from villages and small-towns. The sense of political and social exclusion is widespread that even Dalit MPs from the BJP are seen at mobilisations to safeguard the Indian Constitution.
He stated that the government, clearly, had failed to understand how deeply the Dalit communities have invested in the Atrocities Act, which they see as a powerful instrument to resist and fight caste centred harassment and oppression. That it took the government days to file a review petition in the Supreme Court was perceived by Dalit outfits as a tacit approval of the apex court’s order. The government lost the plot as the Dalit anger simmered and culminated in the “Bharat Bandh” on April 2.
However, Shafi said, it will be too simplistic to limit the restiveness among Dalits to the developments over the
Atrocities Act. Numerous incidents reported from across the country have accentuated the alienation of the Dalit communities from the social mainstream. The failure of established Dalit outfits in meeting the political, social and educational aspirations of the youth has led to great amount of discontent.