Jabalpur man's 'caste' remark on Facebook stirs row

  • Shahroz Afridi & Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Apr 17, 2015 15:48 IST

While political parties vied to stake claim over the legacy of Dalit icon Dr BR Ambedkar on his birth anniversary on Monday, a Jabalpur businessman courted controversy on Thursday by suggesting on Facebook that Brahmins and Dalits opt for a "role-reversal".

The businessman Manoj Patel, a resident of Sehora town, posted on his Facebook wall that Brahmins should take up jobs like scavenging while Dalits could play roles traditionally taken up by Brahmins.

His views triggered a debate and infuriated the Brahmins in the town, who protested against Patel's comments at the Sehora police station.

They demanded the police take immediate action against him. Police asked Patel to visit the station and tender an unconditional apology to the Brahmin community.

Patel alleged he was treated like a "thief" and subjected to "inhuman treatment" at the police station.

"I had posted 'Chalo aaj hum jati badalte hai (Let's change our castes today)' on Facebook on Ambedkar's birth anniversary. I didn't realise that it would bring so much trouble to me. First, I was hounded online and later I started receiving threats. Then some of my friends told me people from the Brahmin in our locality were looking for me."

He said he was terrified and had to shut down his shop and go home.

"I cannot open my shop and I am forced to stay at home. I was informed they had decided to ostracise me and my family," he said.

Sehora police station in-charge Sanjay Shukla said Patel had deleted his post and tendered an apology to the Brahmins.

"The members of the Brahmin community were very agitated over the post. After Patel apologised, no case was registered against him," said Shukla.

Shishir Pandey, who led the agitation against Patel, said: "He had written a highly objectionable post against Brahmins. That led to discord in the society. Therefore, we complained to the police. However, after an apology from him, the matter has come to an end and the issue stands resolved."

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