Bhima Koregaon Sanghparivar Violence not just exposed the government's caste bias, it also exposed the media's caste bias: Umar Khalid
"They are targeting me because I am one of the prominent voices. And also because I am a Muslim. They want to end voices like Dhabolkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh" says Umar Khalid, about being targeted by the state machinery.
Bhima Koregaon Sangh Parivar violence on Dalits not just exposed the government's caste bias, it exposed the media's caste bias also, says student leader Umar Khalid. "It was not news when the Dalits were attacked by the Sanghis. There are videos of the attack. but it only became news when the Dalits protested against it, and when the city was still after the bandh. It was not a clash between Dalits and Marathas. It was sanghis attacking Dalits."
Almost all national media houses called it a 'riot' or 'Dalit-Maratha clash'. The Dalit protests during the Maharshtra bandh on January 3 was portrayed as it disturbed the entire Maharashtra. On January 1, the police didn't control the violent Sangh Parivar mob pelting stones at Dalits and burning vehicles, which was roaring like Karsevaks who demolished Babri Masjid. There were incidents of violence from 28/12/2017. But the complaints of Dalits were not taken care of.
Umar had attended December 31 event at Bhima Koregaon, Elgar Parishad where thousands of Dalits gathered commemorating the 1818 victory of Dalits over Peshwas. Rohith Vemula's mother Radhika Vemula, young Dalit leader and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mewani, Dr. BR Ambedkar's grand son Prakash Ambedkar, Adivasi activist Soni Sori, Bhim Army's Vinay were part of the Parishad. An FIR is filed on Umar, along with Jignesh Mewani, which accused his speech incited the violence. But to those who think Umar's speech was provocative he asked to watch the speech which is accessible for anyone, on YouTube. The charges are IPC Sections 153 A, 505,117.
"This is a vicious campaign against me, the media spreading it only to divert attention from the real issue, attack on Dalits. The real perpetrators of violence are Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote. I completely reject accusations made in the FIR. My speech is online. People can just go and watch it."
"They are targeting me because I am one of the prominent voices. And also because I am a Muslim. They want to end voices like Dhabolkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and finally Gauri Lankesh." Says Umar Khalid, about being targeted by the state machinery. He said that the government can't begin the trial on the case filed upon him two years back and that is why they are continuing the media trial.
"Like Kalburgi's murderers, Gauri Lankesh's murderers are roaming free. Pehlu Khan's murderers are roaming free. Akhlaq 's murderers got bail. Those who are behind Bhima Koregaon violence are holding rallies and roaming around freely."
"The government's promises are proven fake. Now they have nothing to promise. So they are focusing on communalisation and polarization. They continue focus on Ram Mandir, Goraksha, Love Jihad etc." Umar said that it became easier for the corporate forces to rule India apart from other forces like caste and communalism. Foreseeing the 2019 election, Umar doubts there can be more of such communalising and polarising attempts from Sangh Parivar.