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Explained: Why farmer leaders are holding Dalit Sammelans in Haryana

Why are Dalit Sammelans being held? How are the ties between Dalits and farmers? How are the ties between Dalits and farmers?

Written by Sukhbir Siwach , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh |
March 24, 2021 11:27:00 am
BKU leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni during a recent Dalit Sammelan held in Kaithal

To make the ongoing farmer agitation stronger and seek active support of Scheduled Castes, the farmer leaders are holding Dalit Sammelans in Haryana these days.

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Why are Dalit Sammelans being held?

The farmers leaders feel that the ongoing farmer agitation against three farm laws will continue for long. They also claim the three farm laws will affect labourers more adversely than the farmers. Haryana BKU president Gurnam Singh Chaduni says, “This is not the agitation of farmers only. The farmers have launched it but it belongs to every section of the society. This is a mass movement. These laws won’t harm farmers only but all those who eat after buying the food grains. When the food grains will go in the stocks of few corporates only, then labourers, employees and shopkeepers will face exploitation. This is an agitation of public versus corporates. That’s why we all have to join hands against these three farm laws. In our Dalit sammelans, a large number of Dalits and their leaders have joined us. This is a battle for economic freedom as the entire property are being bought by a few people.”

How are the ties between Dalits and farmers?

In rural areas, Dalits have been largely engaged in labour related activities especially in agricultural fields. The farmers need labour to carry out their agricultural works. Further, the labourers need fodder too for their animals from the agricultural fields. Despite these close ties, there have been disputes and clashes too between both the communities mainly due to complex social structure.

How are the ties between Dalits and farmers?

If farmer leaders succeed to gain support from a significant chunk from the Dalit communuty, then it may add more strength to the ongoing farmer agitation as SCs consist 20 per cent of Haryana’s population. However, it is yet to be seen how much support these sammelans actually draw for the farmer agitation. Dalit-A Mahapanchayat Haryana president Devi Das Valmiki terms the latest move of Dalit Sammelans as a “delayed move”. “Only farmers can’t win this battle. You can pressure the government only when any move disturbs the political calculations of the ruling party. These farmer leaders should bring the faces of SC and BC communities on stages prominently and even accept their leadership. Till now, the farmer leaders have not brought prominent Dalit faces on stage,” says Devi Das, a dalit leader.

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What is the message of Dalit Sammelans?

Keen to fight for long against the three farm laws, the farmer leaders want deeper understanding with people from Scheduled Castes. In Dalit Sammelans, Chaduni says, “ People from castes like Jat, Saini, Brahmin, Rajput and Ror should display photos of Baba Ambedkar Sahib, who fought for dalits for his entire life, in their homes. And our Dalit brothers should display photos of farmer leader Sir Chhotu Ram. This move will further strengthen our brotherhood.

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