Dalit group calls for protest at Delhi against Yogi government in UP for allegedly shielding those who burnt Dalit houses in Shabbirpur

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Houses belonging to the Dalits that were set afire at Shabbirpur village. | Photo Credit: R_V_Moorthy
Saharanpur still tense weeks after a Thakur youth was killed and over 56 houses were burnt down in Shabbirpur
The Bheem Army Ekta Mission, a Saharanpur-based outfit of Dalit youths, has called for a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on May 21.

The outfit, which the Uttar Pradesh police has alleged was behind the violent protests in Shabbirpur village, has also asked Dalits to hold “peaceful protests” by submitting resolutions to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on alleged Dalit atrocities.

Saharanpur is still tense weeks after a Thakur youth was killed and over 56 houses burnt in Shabbirpur village when Dalits protested against a Maharana Pratap memorial procession by Thakurs on May 5.

Saharanpur District Magistrate N.P. Singh said members of the outfit were behind incidents of violence when their request to organise a mahapanchayat at Gandhi Park to demand compensation and relief was denied.

“Members of the Dalit group took to social media asking Dalits to come to Gandhi Park to attend a mahapanchayat to demand compensation and relief to those affected in the recent caste clashes. But when the permission was turned down as the atmosphere in the district was not favourable, their supporters took to the streets and engaged in violence,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.

Cases registered

The State police have registered several cases against unnamed persons and also against the founder of the outfit.

Advocate Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, the founder of the Bheem Army, appealed to its supporters to attend the protest at Jantar Mantar to show their solidarity against the alleged atrocities against their community.

“Some people are saying that I have gone underground but the reality is that I just wanted to see how the system brands people who work for the exploited and marginalised community as Naxals and terrorists,” he said.

“The fact is that we believe in the Constitution. We are just working for justice for exploited people,” said Mr Ravan.

The founder of the outfit told supporters that May 21 would be “an opportunity to decide whether to ban Bheem Army or continue the movement for social justice.”

“On May 21, you have to hold a massive but peaceful protest within the ambit of the Constitution,” he said while accusing the Yogi Adityanath government of shielding those who burnt Dalit houses in Shabbirpur during clashes between Dalits and Thakurs.

“The question I want to ask from the Yogi government is that why was the entire administration a mute spectator when 56 houses and 40 shops were burnt and hundreds of Dalit brothers and sisters were assaulted and humiliated,” he said.

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