The Dalit community in Gujarat is planning to hold a massive protest in New Delhi’s Ramlila grounds ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament. Hoping to escalate their state-wide stir to a national level, the community is demanding equality, and protesting violence and atrocities against Dalits.
From August till December, all disadvantaged sections will be mobilised in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Odisha.
Activist Ashok Bharti from the National Confederation of Dalit and Adivasi Organisations said, “We want a new social contract as the Pune Pact (between Ambedkar and Gandhi) has become irrelevant. So it is time for a fresh contract.”
Prakash Ambedkar, a political activist and grandson of B R Ambedkar, clarified, “By Dalits, we mean not only the caste identity or community, but all those who are downtrodden and marginalised people in the larger sense.”
The organisers of the protests will also carry out marches from landmark locations, where atrocities against Dalits have been recorded. Laxmanpur Bathe in Bihar is an example.
The community has come together in Gujarat in large numbers after four youths were publicly flogged for skinning a cow. They were accused of killing the cow by self-proclaimed cow protectors, however it was later revealed that they were sent to pick up the carcass of the cow. Dalits are often sent to clean carcasses of dead animals. In light of this, the community has also pledged to stop clearing carcasses.
With the Gujarat assembly polls around the corner, the mass protests are also a cause of worry for the BJP-led government.