Updated: April 30, 2018 12:16:51 pm
A day after 450 Dalits in Una embraced Buddhism alleging atrocities on them, BJP MP Udit Raj cited “social injustice” as the reason behind the move. Calling it “a dangerous situation”, the BJP MP is quoted by ANI as saying: “Dalits are beaten up for even having a moustache. I don’t know what alternative they have.”
More than a thousand Dalits, including the family allegedly flogged by cow vigilantes in July 2016, converted to Buddhism at an event organised in Mota Samadhiyala village near Gujarat’s Una district. Not believing in Hindu gods and goddesses was among the 22 resolutions that the converts made. The conversion will be recognised only when registered with the district collector, as per the Gujarat Freedom of Religion law.
Among the new converts were Balu Sarvaiya, his wife Kunvar, his sons Vashram and Ramesh, who were victims of the alleged assault. They were joined by Balu’s nephew Ashok and relative Bechar who were also beaten up in June 2016. Balu and Kunvar who had rushed to rescue the four were also beaten up by the assailants.
The reason is social injustice. Dalits are beaten up for even having a mustache. I don’t know what alternative they have. This is really a dangerous situation: Udit Raj, BJP MP on mass conversion of Dalits to Buddhism from Gujarat’s Una, yesterday. pic.twitter.com/AkQSlHDWrq
— ANI (@ANI) April 30, 2018
Speaking to The Indian Express after the conversion ceremony, Balu said, “I feel relieved and empowered today. Today I junked blind faith forever. This is so liberating. After I was assaulted and humiliated, I realised that these things were burdening me. Now that I have thrown them out of the window, there will be a revolution. Now no god or goddess will prevent us from doing what we want to do. We shall study, educate ourselves and choose suitable professions.”
Ramesh told the media, “We followed Hinduism for thousands of years, but were never treated as a fellow Hindu by other faithful. We were not allowed to enter temples and were treated as untouchables. When we went to work on someone’s farm, we were asked to bring our own utensils for meals. Fed up of all these prejudices, we converted to Buddhism.”
This was the second major conversion event held in Saurashtra after one in Junagadh in late 2013.
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