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Must fight against RSS, BJP’s hate politics, says Rahul Gandhi on assault of Dalit boys in Maharashtra

On June 10, three minor Dalit boys were stripped, beaten and paraded nude in Wakadi village here for allegedly swimming in a village well.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2018 23:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Indo Asian News Service, Jalgaon
Rahul Gandhi,Dalit boys maharashtra,Dalit boys Jalgaon
Gandhi’s comments on the issue came as a high-level team of Maharashtra Congress visited the village to assess the situation.(HT File Photo)

Days after three Dalit boys were stripped, thrashed and paraded naked in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district for swimming in a village well, a political tussle erupted with leaders from the community and the Congress holding the state government accountable for the incident.

Targeting Maharashtra’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government accountable, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh’s (BBM) chief Prakash Ambedkar said, “Ever since the BJP assumed power, casteist forces have gained importance. There has been a phenomenal increase in atrocities against Dalits.”

Calling the incident a blot on democracy, People’s Republican Party chief Jogendra Kawade said, “I will visit the families and offer all possible help,” he said.

Rajendra Gawai, who heads the Republican Party of India (Gawai), accused the government of being biased against members of the Dalit community. “The government has not been able to arrest Sambhaji Bhide, the mastermind of the Bhima-Koregoan violence, despite irrefutable proof. In contrast, they acted against Dalits who were the victims. The same story will be repeated again,” he said.

However, union minister and Republican Party of India founder Ramdas Athawale said he had full confidence that the state government would ensure that the guilty receive the strictest punishment.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also tweeted a video of the incident, adding in Hindi, “Their crime was that they went for bath in a well belonging to a person from upper caste community. History won’t forgive us if we don’t raise our voices against Manuvad and poisonous politics of the RSS and BJP.”

Gandhi’s remarks drew sharp criticism from state revenue minister Chandrakant Patil, who said caste dynamics had nothing to do with the incident.

“Of the three victims, two were from scheduled caste and one from scheduled tribe. The well owner is from the nomadic tribe community and his help is from other backward class (OBC). Making such a statement without verifying facts is not in the interest of the country, ” the minister said.

A committee formed by state Congress also visited the victims and their families on Friday. Congress legislator Abdul Sattar, who headed the committee, vowed to fight for the victims. “The victims’ families are homeless and don’t have a house. The Congress will take up the responsibility of their rehabilitation,” he said.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 14:48 IST