Members of the Dalit community had planned a "Dalit Swabhiman Diwas" on Tuesday in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh to remember the struggle of youth, women and the aged people for the community. However, local police cancelled the permission and reportedly deployed heavy forces in the area.
The united platform of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) had planned a 'Paidal March (March on foot)' on Tuesday at 4 pm from Chaudhary Charan Singh University gate to Divisional Commissioner Chowk. But the police took “preemptive action” in order to cancel the march.
Speaking to Newsclick, Dalit activist Sushil Gautam said, "Yogi Adityanath government wants to crush our voice so that we cannot speak up for the Dalit community. We wanted to remember our people, who scarified their lives, in a democratic manner, but the fascist government is threatening us by deploying forces. We will give a clear message to the Modi government that Dalits and every marginalised community is against the government."
Gautam added, "We sought permission from the district administration on Saturday evening. But suddenly, I received a call from the district administration that they have cancelled our permission, claiming that our protest will create panic and violence. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed lakhs of people in Meerut and there was no chaos. But if two hundred Dalits want to remember our people who lost their lives, the situation will be tense in the city and there will be violence. Isn't it dual standard?"
The Western part of Uttar Pradesh has witnessed several caste clashes in the past, and has seen a series of cases of atrocities on Dalits last year. Two Dalit youths named Gopi Parya and Ankur were allegedly killed by a right-wing mob last year during the Bharat Bandh organised by Dalits on April 2 following alleged dilution of the SC/SC Act.
Kamesh Gautam, a Dalit activist, while speaking to Newsclick said, "We are gathered here to show our solidarity with our people who have been killed last year when they were protesting against the Modi government for tampering with the SC/ST Act. Thirteen Dalits from across the country were killed, two of whom were from Meerut. We wanted to pay tribute to them.”
The community handed over a memorandum to the district administration after they were stopped from going ahead with the march.
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