New Delhi: The BJP-led NDA which has drawn a lot of flak for its handling of Dalit issues is attempting to figure out ‘why Dalits are angry’ with it.
To understand the issue, India Foundation, the RSS-backed think tank, held a Dalit Chintan earlier this month and organised two different sessions on the subject.
The sessions were chaired by union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party general secretary Ram Madhav. One was held at Singh’s official residence on Akbar Road, and the other at Nehru Memorial at Teen Murti Bhawan.
About 50 delegates participated in the events which saw the presence of party MPs, office bearers and other opinion makers from the Dalit community.
The deliberations centred around one critical questions: the anger of Dalits.
Treatment meted out to Dalit youths
Several Dalit leaders present at the conclave told News18 that issues like handling of Rohith Vemula controversy came up for discussion. Many felt that the Hyderabad Central University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao’s handling of the situation left much to be desired.
The deliberations also focused on the issue of UP government slapping National Security Act on Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad after caste clashes in Saharanpur last year. The Dalit leaders continue to be behind bars.
Some members present expressed their concern over the UGC orders tweaking faculty quota. The UGC order made provisions for reserving seats for SC/ST faculty considering department as a unit in higher education institutions. This was a departure from earlier practice of reservations on the cumulative faculty positions in the institution.
The meeting was attended among others by former union minister Sanjay Paswan, BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, BJP spokesperson and former MP Dr Bizay Sonkar Shastri.
Sitting BJP MP Udit Raj, who has raised these issues in parliament, confirmed to News18 that such meetings took place.
“We were present to discuss the issues of Dalits. I had put forward my concern on declining representation of the community in Higher education, bureaucracy and governance issues,” he said.
This India Foundation outreach program comes at the time when Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram are set to go to polls followed by Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
To assuage the Dalit hurt, examples like recent amendments in the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and other attempts by the government to reach out to the community were listed by party leaders present in the meeting.