Thousands of people belonging to Dalit, Adivasi and other minority communities today held a Mahasangram Rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, demanding strict implementation of the Constitution and its spirit of secularism, representation and the rights of the communities.
During the rally, the communities vowed to defend their rights of religious freedom, dignity and decided to continue their unified struggle against communal and divisive forces. Leaders and representatives of the communities from over 23 states said that the current policies, including demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, were affecting them.
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They expressed serious concerns over the promotion of a socio-cultural paradigm jeopardising constitutional rights of enjoying fundamental freedoms of food, faith and livelihood. The leaders also highlighted the increased atrocities, violence and judicial pronouncements questioning the constitutional rights of Dalits, Adivasis and minorities making them insecure and deserve urgent attention of the government.
Jamiat Ulama-I–Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani said that the freedom of India has yet to bring equality and development to Dalits, Adivasi and other minorities. “We are not here to oppose anybody but to change the circumstances. Changing rulers is not enough, the character has to be changed. The change will start from us,” he said.
Dalit leader Ashok Bharti said that the declaration of the rally has brought together “Bahujans” in real sense. He said that the recent decision of demonetisation has caused great inconvenience to the poor and it is ill-planned.
The leaders also demanded allocation of budgets to Dalits, Adivasis and minorities proportionate to their populations and representation in all constitutional and public institution, annihilation of caste system and caste-based discrimination and exclusion, speedy and unbiased justice to the victims of caste and communal violence, truthful implementation of Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST Act.
They also demanded strict action against the so-called cow vigilante groups which are unleashing violence on Dalits and Muslims.