Sena-BJP should apologise to Dalits: Cong MP | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Sena-BJP should apologise to Dalits: Cong MP

The Congress wants the saffron alliance to tender an apology for the death of 10 dalits in police firing at Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Nagar in 1997, when the Sena-BJP was ruling the state government.

mumbai Updated: Feb 15, 2012 01:07 IST
HT Correspondent

The Congress wants the saffron alliance to tender an apology for the death of 10 dalits in police firing at Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Nagar in 1997, when the Sena-BJP was ruling the state government.

Eknath Gaikwad, Member of Parliament (Congress), on Tuesday, demanded that Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, his son Uddhav and BJP leader Gopinath Munde, the then state home minister, tender an unconditional apology to the dalits for killing their brethren in Ghatkopar. “The Sena-BJP has no moral right to seek Dalit votes after killing them. Thackeray and Munde must apologise for the merciless killing,” said Gaikwad.

The police had, on July 11, 1997, ordered firing on a dalit mob staging a violent agitation following desecration of Dr Babsaheb Ambedkar’s statue at Ramabai Nagar. Ten people were killed in the firing. Munde had justified the firing saying that the mob was about to torch a tanker parked on the road. Rubbishing the theory, a committee headed by justice SD Gundewar had indicted a state reserve police officer, Manohar Kadam, for indiscriminate and needless firing. Kadam was later sentenced to life imprisonment, which has been stayed by the high court. Last year, the sessions court acquitted eight people from the mob charged for rioting.

For Dalit community –18-20% of city’s population -- the issue is close to their hearts. The Congress has now raked up the issue at a time when the Sena-BJP alliance is trying to woo Dalit voters to retain their hold over the BMC.

In a bid to shed their anti-Dalit image, the Sena has even forged an alliance with Ramdas Athawale-led Republican Party of India.