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Gujarat-based Dalit activist and scribe Sunil Jadav on Monday said he would return an award given to him by the State Government for contribution in the field of journalism to protest against RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya’s remarks favouring a review of reservation policy. According to the 43-year-old, he was deeply pained by Vaidya’s statements and would therefore return the “Mahatma Phule Outstanding Dalit Journalist Award”, which consisted of Rs 25,000 in cash and a shawl.
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“The award was given to me in 2011 by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Gujarat Government. Now, I have decided to return it as mark of protest against Vaidya’s views on reservation,” Jadav told PTI. The RSS publicity chief had last week kicked up a row with remarks favouring a review of quota policy, saying even the architect of the Constitution B R Ambedkar had not favoured its continuance in perpetuity.
“I am deeply pained by such remarks from an RSS leader. It seems the Sangh is trying to create an anti-Dalit atmosphere in the country. Instead of eliminating social inequality, they are hell bent on eliminating the untouchables (Dalits),” said Jadav, a resident of Rajkot.
Besides being an activist, Jadav is also a writer and currently works as a part-time lecturer at a college near Rajkot.
According to him, he has been associated with several newspapers for almost 15 years as a columnist and a reporter, for which he was given the award by the BJP Government.
“Vaidya’s comments came at a time when Dalits are agitating to get justice in Gujarat, especially after the Dalit flogging incident in Una last year. To open the eyes of Government, I am left with no other option but to return the award,” Jadav said.