Expressing deep anguish over the spate of attacks on Dalits in the country, as many as six organisations – Republican Party of India, Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union, Dalit Soshan Mukti Manch, Dalit Aadhikar Raksha Rashtriya Abhiyan, Akhil Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union and National Council for Dalit Human Rights – have formed a broadbased platform to fight against physical attacks against Dalits throughout the country. This platform ‘Dalit Swabhiman Sangharsh’ held a day-long dharna-cum-rally in Parliament Street, New Delhi, on Friday. The rally turned to be a huge success with over 1,000 people turning up at the venue.
The main speakers at the dharna were Sitaram Yechury, Suravaram Sudharkar Reddy, Prakash Ambedkar, Radhika Vemula, Jignesh Mewani, PS Krishnan, Wilson Bezawada, Paul Divakar and leaders of various Dalit, student, youth, women and other mass organisations.
The rally also saw participation from many Left organisations like CPI, CPI(M), Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, Republican Party of India, Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union, Akhil Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union, Rashtriya Dalit Manavadhikar Abhiyaan and Rashtriya Dalit Adhikaar Rakshaa Abhiyaan Parisar.
The main slogan at the rally was “Jai Bhim, Lal Salaam”. D Raja of CPI, while addressing the rally, said: ” You are not here to beg any sympathy or empathy from Modi and his party. You are here to demand your self respect, your social justice, your democratic rights. ”
Speaking on the occasion, Dalit activist Jignesh Mewani said: “We, Dalits of Gujarat, demand 5 acre land for each. If denied, we will go for a rail bandh in Maninagar, Ahmedabad on October 1.”
He said: “If they block us, we will buy tickets and stop the train by pulling chains. It will stop all the trains in the state.” Mewani also announced that another protest would be held at Ram Leela Maidan on November 15.