To protest atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat and the Una flogging episode, around 150 Dalits from Banaskantha district embraced Buddhism in Palanpur Tuesday on the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar. The conversion event was organised under the aegis of Banaskantha Dalit Sangathan (BDS) and Rashtriya Vanchit Lokmanch.
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Niraj Chauhan from BDS said, “Following the Una episode, we had given a call to Dalits in Banaskantha for embracing Buddhism. And today’s programme was part of that initiative. Atrocities against Dalits have continued in Gujarat and our demand of getting (surplus) land remains unfulfilled. So, we organised this conversion programme in protest… Dr Ambedkar wanted Dalits to embrace Buddhism. As many as 150 Dalits embraced Buddhism.”
Bhikshu Pragnya Ratna — a dhamma pracharak from The Great Ashoka Buddha Vihar in Porbandar — gave ‘diksha’ to the participants.
“We also want to know from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that when will he launch a surgical strike against casteism in India as he has done against terrorism and black money,” Chauhan said.