Updated: January 2, 2022 11:05:57 am
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rang in the new year Saturday by paying obeisance at Dera Sach Khand Ballan — an influential socio-religious organisation of the Ravidassia community — in Jalandhar. Later in the day, Kejriwal also visited Ram Tirath temple, another prominent Dalit community shrine, in Amritsar. At Ram Tirath, he promised to dissolve the Shrine Board and hand over the responsibility of the temple to the society.
The AAP leader’s visit to the Dera and the shrine is being seen as an attempt to consolidate Dalit votes as Punjab heads for polls. The visits also assumes significance as both Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu too had paid visit to the Dera, the seat of Sant Niranjan Das, the present spiritual head of the Ravidassia community. Kejriwal, who was honoured by Sant Nirajan Das, said that along with spiritual guidance, said the Dera has played an important role in maintaining communal brotherhood and equality.
The Delhi CM, who has been in Punjab since December 30, prayed for peace, prosperity and communal harmony, as per a statement by AAP. He was accompanied by party’s state chief and MP Bhagwant Mann, and Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema.
Kejriwal said, “It is only through good education that equality can be brought in society and the right to equality as enshrined in the Constitution can be ensured in the true sense,” Kejriwal said.
“I guarantee the education of all Dalit children to fulfil the dreams of Maharishi Valmiki and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. Equality can be brought in the society only by giving good education to children of the poor and the downtrodden,” he said after paying obeisance at the Ram Tirath temple, the ashram of Maharishi Valmiki and the birthplace of Lord Ram’s sons Luv and Kush in Amritsar. Addressing the media, Kejriwal said, “Both Maharishi Valmiki and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar gave utmost importance to education. Ambedkar’s dream was that every child of India, whether he is poor or rich, should get good education.”
But it is very unfortunate that today due to the bad condition of government schools, children of Dalits and the poor are not getting good education, he claimed. Kejriwal made four promises related to the education of Dalit children, sanitation workers, seers and people engaged sewer maintenance.
Emphasising on the education of poor and downtrodden children, Kejriwal made the first promise and said, it is only through good education that equality can be brought in society. “Therefore, the AAP, if voted to power, will provide an opportunity to all poor and downtrodden children of Punjab to get good and free education,” he said.
Kejriwal agreed with the Sant Samaj’s demand to dissolve the Ram Tirath temple shrine board. “The AAP will accept the demand of the Sant Samaj and dissolve the shrine board and hand over the responsibility of running the temple to society,” he promised.
Kejriwal made the third promise for sanitation workers. Temporary sanitation workers of Punjab are forced to work on very low wages. They also have to struggle a lot to meet their daily needs, he said.
The AAP will make sure that all the sanitation workers are regularised, Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal said, “It is very unfortunate that even in the 21st century, sewer men have to clean drains by hand. In Delhi, we have provided kits to all sewer men. When the AAP forms government, no sewer man in Punjab will have to clean the mess by hand. The kits will be provided to all the sewer men.”
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