While tension continues to brew in Saharanpur over recent incidents of caste violence, a Dalit organisation called the ‘Aabhas Mahasangh Mission 24 carat’ has declared that a ‘mahapanchayat’ will be held at Numaish ground in Bijnor city on Tuesday, even though the police and district administration maintained they had taken all possible precautions to stop the event from taking place.
The ‘mahapanchayat’ was being held to raise the issue of “atrocities on Dalits”, said members of the Abhass Mahasangh. “We will hold mahapanchayat tomorrow without indulging in any kind of violence…We will discuss the Saharanpur issue and steps to be taken to bring justice to Dalits in the district. Police and administration are not giving any kind of protection to Dalits,” said the organisation’s Delhi president Vijendra Kumar, adding that they work for the community’s “upliftment”. While both the district magistrate and additional district magistrate said they had held a meeting with the key organisers who had assured that the ‘mahapanchayat’ would not take place, the Abhass Mahasangh’s state president claimed the final decision regarding the ‘mahapanchayat’ would be taken on Tuesday morning.
Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Bijnor, Surendra Ram said, “After we convinced them that there is no point of holding mahapanchayat in Bijnor as the incident had occurred in Saharanpur, the office-bearers decided not to hold mahapanchayat. The organisation members have also given in writing that they would not be holding mahapanchayat.”
The ADM further said that Ashu Kumar, the organiser of the mahapanchayat and several other members of the Abhass Mahasangh including state president Jagat Singh had been present at the meeting held on Monday. “The organisation had sought permission and administration had denied it on May 27,” added the ADM. District Magistrate of Bijnor, Jagat Raj, said, “If the organisation still moves to hold mahapanchayat, action will be taken against them. Heavy police force have already been deployed.”
Police too said they had taken all measures including lodging an FIR against nine office-bearers of the organisation on charge of promoting enmity on ground of caste, religion. Moreover, five others, under CrPC sections, have been made to give in writing that they would maintain peace, else they would have to make deposits of Rs 5-10 lakh each.
Pamphlets distributed by the Abhass Mahasangh giving a call for the ‘mahapanchayat’ contained statements against a particular caste, stating that Dalits were attacked and their houses set ablaze in the May 5 violence. “Police are not taking strict action following which Dalits were forced to leave their villagers,” the pamphlet further said.
Prem Veer Singh Rana, station house officer of City Kotwali police station said that since the pamphlets carried messages which could disturb communal harmony, an FIR was lodged against nine members of the organisation under IPC section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of race and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).
Among those have been named in the FIR were the organisation’s state president Jagat Singh and members Aadesh Kumar Nagvanshi, Arvind and Ashu Kumar. The organisation’s Delhi-based national president Lal Singh Bhumewalkar could not be contacted.