Guest Post by Sucheta De
CPI-ML- AISA Team’s Visit to Saharanpur – A Report
“Sarkar Hamari Hai, Police-Prashashan Bhi Hamara Hai”- Yogi Government Boosts Up Morale of Casteist Feudal Goons Who Burnt Dalit Village in Shabbirpur!
Casteist Goons from Dominant Rajput Community Enjoy Complete Impunity while Bhim Army Activists Continue to Face Witch-Hunt!
CPI-ML-AISA Appeal Everyone to Join Hands with the Dalits of Saharanpur in their Struggle for Justice!
Saharanpur Carnage: Teaching a Lesson to Politically Assertive, Self-Reliant Dalits Who Refuse to be Foot Soldiers of Hindutva’s Hate Politics
When BJP gains electoral majority, Saharanpur happens.
For last several years the belt of western Uttar Pradesh has been made the laboratory of the RSS-BJP’s sinister design of communal polarization and violence against Muslims. The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots was a planned design by the RSS-BJP to polarize the belt on communal lines and reap electoral benefits. And now, after that design had delivered ‘electoral success’ for the RSS and BJP, upper caste feudal forces have started celebration of their ‘victory’ by unleashing attack on Dalits.
Within two months of Yogi Adityanath being sworn-in as the Chief Minister of UP, BJP tried to manufacture an attack on Muslims in Saharanpur on the pretext of “Ambedkar Shobha Yatra” in the month of April. BJP MP from the area Raghav Lakhanpal planned communal tension with Muslims and tried to take the BJP mobilized Shobha Yatra through Sadak Dudhli village, an area mostly inhabited by Muslims. When SSP of Saharanpur Love Kumar denied permission for the BJP mobilized Yatra to be taken through Muslim majority area, BJP supporters and activists led by Raghav Lakhanpal attacked the SSP’s house. Despite permission being denied by the SSP, the Shobha Yatra was nonetheless taken through Sadak Dushli and a communal conflict was manufactured by BJP. Love Kumar has been subsequently transferred from Saharanpur for not facilitating BJP’s plan of a communal violence.
The Dalit villagers of Shabbirpur refused to be a part of RSS’s game plan of using Dalits as foot soldiers of communal polarization for the political-social benefit of the feudal upper caste hegemony through electoral power.
The Dalit community of Shabbirpur has schooled itself politically in the vision and dream of Babasaheb Ambedkar for a casteless society devoid of feudal upper caste dominance. They are aware of their symbols of empowerment and struggles for rights. And self-reliant, confident and politically organized Dalits who refused to be co-opted in the project of Hindutva are a real threat to feudal dominance and RSS’ hegemony. Thus, the upper caste feudal sections who are in a celebratory mode since Yogi’s victory, had to teach the Dalits a lesson.
On 14th April, the villagers of Shabbirpur wanted to install a statue of Babasaheb in the Ravidas temple located in their village. The Rajput community of the adjacent area in the village objected to this, saying there is no permission for it. On Maharana Pratap Jayanti (5th May) a gathering of the Rajput community was organized in the nearby Simlana village. Dalit villagers of Shabbirpur told us that the Rajputs deliberately took a procession towards Simalana village, passing through the Dalit settlement playing loud DJ music. When the Dalits asked for permission papers to be shown for playing loud music and conducting a procession, the feudal goons from the Rajput community started attacking the Dalits. The Ravidas temple situated in the midst of the Dalit settlement was vandalised by upper caste goons, and the Ravidas statue was broken. The goons urinated inside the premises of the Ravidas temple – a symbol of Dalit identity – to humiliate the Dalits. They also started a fire inside the temple.
By evening, thousands of upper caste goons were mobilized at Simlana village. The villagers told us BJP leaders of Western UP like Hukum Singh, Sangeet Som and others were present at Simlana from where the upper caste goons were mobilized. Each of these BJP leaders have a track record of manufacturing communal riots and tension in the Western UP area.
The upper caste goons attacked the Dalit area of Shabbirpur village with swords in their hands. All the houses, and crop stored in front of houses were burnt. Everyone present in the area were attacked with swords. The villagers told us that the upper caste goons while attacking the Dalits shouted “Sarkar Hamara Hai, Police Prashasan Hamara Hai” (the police and government is ours) when Dalits called the police.
When we visited the village, the area was still full of smoke coming from burnt crops. Houses were broken and burnt, villagers injured.
Police Shield BJP-backed Feudal Goons, Witch-Hunt Dalits: After the carnage of May 5, Dalit youth called for a meeting at the Ravidas Hostel to demand justice. The administration stopped the meeting in the name of law and order concerns. Subsequently Dalits gathered at Gandhi Park and demanded justice and compensation for the Shabbirpur carnage. The police lathi charged the peaceful gathering, which led to unrest.
Since then, the UP government has started massive crackdown on activists and leaders of Bhim Army. Bhim Army is an organization of Dalit youths in the area that works for the rights of Dalit community. Several false charges have been filed against the founder member of Bhim Army, advocate Chandrashekhar Azad. Several Dalit youth have been arrested and put behind bars in Saharanpur District Jail.
Our team met the Dalit youth who have been arrested. One of them has been arrested from Ghaziabad merely because of a Facebook post condemning the attack on Dalits in Shabbirpur. Some people from the Rajput community have also been arrested. But people in the villages told us that the main masterminds and those who led the carnage have been spared. Some commoners from the Rajput community have been picked up to create a facade of some ‘balance’ in action.
Mr. MP Singh, the SO of Badgao PS (the police station responsible for Shabbirpur) did not act to stop the carnage in spite of being called by the villagers on 5th May. After a nation-wide outrage against anti-dalit carnage in Shabbirpur, senior police officials of UP claimed that ‘Line Hazir’ order has been given for the SO. It has now come to light that such claims are contrary to the truth. Rather than ‘Line Hazir’ order being given to the SO, he has been rewarded with charge of a more important police station in the area. This is the how officials who implement RSS’ game plan are rewarded.
The Pattern: Assured of administrative impunity, the Sangh Parivar is indulging in repeated attempts at fomenting communal and caste tensions in Saharanpur. This pattern is evident from the recent attacks on Muslims followed by the attack on Dalits. After the attack on Muslims, the Sangh Parivar mobs attacked the home and family of the former SSP Love Kumar because he acted against the rioters – and the Government transferred him. Saharanpur is in the cross hairs of the RSS and BJP because the BJP lost the Assembly seat here and in two neighbouring constituencies in the recently held Assembly polls despite its victory in the rest of the State.
“We Will Not Take This Violence and Humiliation Lying down, We Will Fight back” said the Dalit Villagers of Shabbirpur and Activists of Bhim Army
We visited villagers who are admitted in the hospital with serious sword-inflicted injuries. Injured in body, they were firm in resolve to fight back for dignity and justice. Activists of Bhim Army and local villagers are collecting relief and mobilising the necessary help for the villagers of Shabbirpur. Our team met several activists of Bhim Army and the family of Chandrashekhar. It is easy to see the dreams of Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad (of the freedom movement) in their eyes. They are organizing meetings, mobilizing villagers for the Dharna at Jantar Mantar on 21st. They told us ‘Let us all meet Chandrashekhar Bhai in Delhi”.
Come to Jantar Mantar. Join hands with the Dalits of Saharanpur in their struggle for dignity and justice.
Demand Justice in the Spate of Lynch Mob Killings in Jharkhand
In two recent incidents last Thursday in Jharkhand, lynch mobs instigated by rumours of child-lifting have killed seven people near Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. Three of those killed in the first incident at Rajnagar on Thursday morning were identified as Sheikh Sajju (25), Sheikh Siraj (26) and Naim (35). Another member of this group, Sheikh Halim (28), was initially reported missing but his body was found in the locality on Friday. In the second incident Gautam Verma (27), his brother Vikas Verma (25), and their friend Gangesh Gupta were beaten to death in front of their 80-year-old grandmother as they were returning to Jamshedpur. Also the elder brother of Gautam and Vikas, suffered injuries in the attack.
In similar incidents, two others were killed last week in the same area. The Raghubar Das Government and its police and district administrations do nothing to prevent such lynch mobs from forming and carrying out murderous violence. We demand justice for the victims of the lynch mob killings in Jharkhand and all over India.
From Alwar to Saharanpur to Jharkhand- especially in BJP ruled states- impunity assured by the state machinery and the murderous culture of lynch mobs, patronised by Sangh outfits and fuelled by rumours on social media, has become the new ‘normal’.
Demand Justice Against Anti-Dalit Carnage in Saharanpur!
Violence and Rampage on Dalit Houses by Feudal Goons from Rajput Community!
Dalit Villagers Attacked with Swords!
Houses and Crops Burnt!
Several Villagers Seriously Injured!
No Compensation No Justice Till Now!
Bhim Army Activists Witch Hunted!
False Charges on Chandrasekhar and Others!
Join Bhim Army’s call
Chalo Jantar Mantar
21st May, 10 am
Sucheta De is President, All India Students’ Association, and was a member of the CPI-ML / AISA team that visited Saharanpur.