Bhima Koregaon violence: Sangh drafts action plan to contain caste fault lines
On the agenda are protracted interactions with Dalit communities, distributing speeches of former Sangh chiefs with specific references to their call for abolition of caste discrimination and giving salience to Sangh’s perspective on caste.Updated: Jan 09, 2018 12:24 IST
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its political protégé BJP were blindsided by the events that led to the caste violence in Maharastra’s Bhima-Koregaon, and steps must be taken to check its recurrence.
This was the conclusion after a series of meetings, where decision makers in the Sangh Parivar confabulated on combating the growing unrest among Dalits.
People aware of the developments said the RSS, which blames “communists” and those who sympathise with the “ultra-Left” for stoking caste clashes, has decided to redouble its efforts to reach out to Dalits and stop the caste fault lines from widening.
On the agenda are protracted interactions with Dalit communities, distributing speeches of former Sangh chiefs with specific references to their call for abolition of caste discrimination and giving salience to Sangh’s perspective on caste. Cadre has also been instructed to sniff out incipient caste friction in their areas.
“The Sangh has underlined that superficial segregation on the basis of caste is against the formation of a Hindu Samaj, which cannot be complete without Muslims and Christians. This wave of friction between Hindus (Dalits and so-called upper castes) is the handiwork of parties whose base is shrinking,” said a senior Sangh functionary.
The BJP, too, has been advised to counter the “communal forces” by aggressively pushing the “development for all agenda”.
After the unrest that was set off by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, followed by the clashes between Thakurs and Dalits in UP’s Saharanpur and the flogging of a Dalit family in Gujarat, RSS and BJP drafted an outreach to quell growing caste friction.
The RSS carried out meetings with Dalit representatives to buttress the need for unity in Hindu society. “In the run-up to polls in UP and Gujarat, RSS cautioned against caste-based polarisation and explained how conflict between communities would affect India’s politics. It also impressed upon BJP the need for building bridges with the Dalits and OBCs to ensure its support is not eroded,” the functionary said.
Even as the RSS has periodically come out with statements castigating atrocities against Dalits, many within the community are circumspect. Dalit ideologue Chandrabhan Prasad said the saffron group was “uncomfortable with Dalits asserting their identities”. Scholar Anand Teltumbde also questioned the RSS’s assertion that Dalits were part of the Hindu society.