Tribune News Service
Lucknow, July 3
Around 45 Dalits from Gujarat coming to Lucknow to present Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath a 125 kg soap bar were made to alight from the train in Jhansi and return to Ahmedabad.
The state government has also cancelled a convention of Dalit organisations, which the Gujarat delegation was to participate in, at Lucknow’s Press Club on Monday.
The police have also laid siege to the Nehru Yuvak Kendra where around two dozen Dalit delegates from Chitrakoot’s Dalit Adhikar Manch had been put up after arriving in the capital to attend the convention.
ADG Law and Order Aditya Mishra said these were preventive measures as there were reports that there could be a law and order problem. “You know there is a background to this,” the ADG said.
The 45-member-strong Gujarat delegation comprising of representatives of around half a dozen Dalit organisations led by Navsarjan Trust were made to get off Sabarmati Express at Jhansi on Sunday.
According to the convener of the proposed Lucknow Dalit convention SR Darapuri, the delegation was told that to ensure their safety the administration would arrange to send them to Lucknow.
Unhappy at the manner in which they were made to get off the train the delegation sat on a dharna at the Jhansi railway platform.
Darapuri said the police took them to a dak bungalow where they were told that there were “orders from above” to send them back to Ahmedabad as under no circumstances they could proceed to Lucknow.
“Early on Monday morning the police forcibly made them board a general compartment of the Saurashtra Express on their return journey to Gujarat,” said Darapuri.
The delegation was bringing with them a 125 kg soap bar with Buddha embossed on it as a gift for CM Yogi.
Darapuri said this was in reaction to around 100 Dalit families at Manipur Deenapatti village in Kushinagar last month being given soap bars and shampoo sachets to clean themselves before attending a public meeting of CM Yogi.
Monday’s meeting organised by the Dynamic Action Group was to be attended by Dalit organisations from various parts of the state as well as from Gujarat to discuss the future plan of action after the Saharanpur clashes.
In a related development, the Indigo flight bringing the founder of the Navsarjan Trust and Dalit human rights activist Martin Macwan to Lucknow for the Dalit convention was cancelled at Ahmedabad airport on Monday morning.
Speaking to this reporter, Macwan said that after waiting in the flight for an hour it was announced that it had been cancelled as the runway was under maintenance.
During April and May there have been several episodes of clashes between the upper-caste Thakurs and Dalits in Saharanpur district in which dozens of people were killed and houses of close to 70 Dalits burnt down.
Blaming the Bhim Sena for provoking violence the state government has arrested its founder Chandrashekhar Azad and all its senior leaders.
Later in the day, eight Dalit rights activists were arrested from the Press Club.
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