Two Dalit youths representing Bharatiya Vidyarthi Morcha (BVM), a youth wing of Bharat Mukti Morcha, were arrested on Thursday on charges of breaching peace when they met the Varanasi district magistrate and asked for permission to raise black flags during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus on February 22.
The BVM, which is associated with All India Backward, and Minorities Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF), had called for the black flag protest over the suicide of Dalit research scholar of Hyderabad University Rohith Vemula.
BVM national in-charge Vilas Kharat and UP working president Vijay Pratap Bharatiya met DM Rajmani Yadav at his office on Thursday morning and submitted a letter seeking permission to hold “peaceful protest” during PM’s visit for BHU’s 98th convocation. The DM immediately called the police, who arrested Vilas and Vijay under Section 151 of CrPC (apprehension of breach of peace), said Cantonment station officer Ratan Singh Yadav.
The duo were later produced before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate court and released on a personal bond of Rs one lakh each.
“Our protest is on the issue of Rohith Vemula being killed through a conspiracy hatched by two Union ministers, Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya. We wanted to give a memorandum to the PM seeking action against both,” Vilas claimed.
“SC/ST students are facing harassment on the BHU campus too. We wanted to seek action against BHU authorities because a research scholar Pokhraj Meena is facing caste atrocities there,” he added.
The BVM chief, who belongs to Maharashtra and works for the organisation from Delhi, said he was asked by the DM as to why he had come to BHU to protest. “I told him why the administration did not ask the same question when Modi came to Varanasi to contest elections even though his home state is Gujarat,” Vilas said.
The Dalit leader said BVM workers will stage a protest during the PM’s visit even though were not granted permission.
Vilas had circulated a poster on social networking site Facebook inviting massed to reach Varanasi on February 22 to show black flags to PM Modi. “A large number of youth will reach Varanasi to protest at BHU gate on Monday,” he claimed.
Varanasi district administration is on high alert since Modi had faced protest on the Rohith issue last month during convocation at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University.