Citing recent violent incidents in Saharanpur (UP) and Buldhana (Maharashtra), former Rajya Sabha MP Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar and 10 other Dalit, Muslim and youth organisations have written to President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking his intervention in ensuring that the perpetrators of violence against Dalits, tribals, Muslims, Christians and women are brought to book. The letter seeks action against cow vigilantes too.
In the letter dated June 12, Mungekar writes: “We, the representatives of various social organisations in Maharashtra, express our deep anguish over the growing violence/atrocities against the Dalits, religious minorities — particularly the Muslims and Christians, and women in different parts of the country. During the last few years, particularly after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come to power at the Centre, the incidents of such heinous violence and atrocities have become a common feature in the country.”
The letter has mentioned different cases of violence and discrimination in the name of caste and religion. It says: “The caste-based discrimination that forced Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar from the Hyderabad Central University (HCU), to commit suicide, the flogging of five Dalit youths from Una village in Gujarat for skinning a dead cow, killing of Mohamad Akhlaq in Dadri (UP) for alleged beef eating, the violence against the Dalits in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh due to the opposition of the upper-caste Thakur community to the installation of a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar in the Ravidasa temple, and very recently public parading of a Dalit woman in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra for an alleged theft are a few instances of this caste-based and communal violence.”
Mungekar adds: “It is distressing that the lukewarm and partisan handling of such inhuman incidents by both state and central machinery further encourages the perpetrators to go ahead violence and atrocities, as they easily get way with it. What is further disappointing and worrisome is the overall growing intolerance in all walks of life.”
The letter goes on to say that “patriotism and nationalism is being defined in narrow partisan sense in as much as those who have a different view than that of the ruling dispensation is dubbed as ‘unpatriotic’ and even ‘anti-national’ dissent”.
Mungekar has said there is an overall sense of insecurity in almost all sections of the society due to all these factors.
Ulka Mahajan, convenor of NGO Sarvahara Jan Andolan (SJA), one of the eleven organisation who has sought the President’s intervention, said: “The letter was written to the President requesting him to communicate with the government to take strict measures to stop the violence and discrimination now prevelant across the country and punish the perpetrators.”
These leaders have also sought an appointment with the President to discuss these issues.