Visiting Shabbirpur village in western UP’s Saharanpur district days after clashes between members of Thakur and Dalit communities, BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday launched a broadside at the Yogi Adityanath government in the state, blaming the BJP for vitiating the atmosphere and stirring up riots along caste lines. Referring to the clashes — on May 5, when Dalits were attacked, allegedly by members of Rajput community, and many houses were torched, and May 9, when the Dalits allegedly hit back — Mayawati said solidarity among people across caste hierarchy is deteriorating under the BJP. “UP ke CM ne sarkari machinery ka durupyog kiya. Barson se bhaichara hai jo nafrat mein badal gaya hai, aur uske liye BJP ki sarkar jimmewar hain (The CM has misused official machinery. The BJP government is responsible for turning years’ of solidarity into hate).”
The former CM announced compensation of Rs 50,000 each for people whose houses were burnt, and Rs 25,000 for each injured victim. In a 25-minute speech at Baba Ravidas Temple in Shabbirpur, where Dalits were barred from putting up an Ambedkar statue, Mayawati appealed everyone, including members of upper castes, to maintain peace. She claimed people from all communities lived in peace during her tenure as CM, and asked the administration to withdraw “false cases” .
In a veiled reference to Bhim Army, the Dalit outfit that has been charged by police with inciting violence here, she said, “There are many small units which celebrate Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti. I suggest they should do that under the BSP’s platform. Now once you start doing it, nobody will dare attack you.” A group of 60 or 70 people struck up a brief melee when they claimed to be supporters of Bhim Army but shouted pro-BSP slogans. When told that Bhim Army claims to be a non-political front, the supporters, echoing Mayawati’s words, said all Dalits should be united under the BSP’s umbrella.