Dalits miffed with BJP, says Barmer party chief
BJP’s Barmer district president says Muslims harassing dalits and officials are keeping mum.Updated: Jun 29, 2018 21:39 IST
Dalits are not happy with the BJP government in Rajasthan, as police and administrative officials are not acting against harassment of the community by Muslims, party’s Barmer district president Jalam Singh Rawlot alleged, seeking intervention by chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
“Muslims are in a majority in this part of border (Barmer district) and are harassing the dalit community for long,” Rawlot said in a letter to Raje, a charge refuted by some BJP and Congress leaders.
Citing a recent rape and murder of a minor girl, the former Sheo MLA said no financial assistance has been provided to the victim’s family. “After the incident, nobody from the government met the victim’s family members to condole them.”
Rawlot, considered close to the RSS, said he had informed the government about the ground situation. “In many incidents, it has been proved that Muslims are doing atrocities on dalits. Authorities have neglected the dalits; such an attitude has left a negative impact on the community,” he said
“I suggested that the government take proactive steps to pacify the community, otherwise the BJP would lose their support in assembly elections.”
Rejecting Rawlot’s charge, former BJP district president Aaduram Meghwal said, “Dalits are not unhappy with government due to Muslim atrocities. In fact, there are many cases in which people from Rawlot’s own community are involved in atrocities on dalits.”
Meghwal, however, admitted that dalits were miffed with the government for being ignored by local authorities, especially after the April 2 Bharat Bandh. “Even I had conveyed this (resentment of dalits) to the government and party leaders.”
Laxman Badera, a dalit rights activist in Barmer, said Rawlot was misleading his party. “It is fact that because of police atrocities post April 2 Bharat Bandh, the community is unhappy with the government, but Rawlot is spreading misleading information.”
The entire Muslim community, he said, cannot be blamed for a single incident. “There is no issue between Muslims and dalits. Instead of Muslims, feudal forces have harassed dalits for centuries.”
Congress district president Fatah Khan said Rawlot’s statement on dalit resentment was a wake-up call to the BJP government. “We have been saying that dalit atrocities have sharply increased under the BJP regime; now Rawlot’s statement has proved our claims.”
Refuting the contention of atrocities by Muslims, Khan said, “Muslims and dalits have been living happily in this region for decades; it’s BJP leaders’ characteristic to disturb communal harmony.”
He said, “Instead of blaming Muslims, Rawlot should check history and show which community is doing atrocities on dalits.”
The BJP governments at the Centre and the state as well as the the party have taken damage-control steps after dalits hit the streets during the April 2 Bharat Bandh, and hit out at police action.
Party leaders have been directed to spend time with dalits and spend nights in the community-dominated villages. The party’s youth wing has been told to organise community dinners with Dalits. The government also launched the ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan’ in the dalit-dominated villages to address the community’s anger.