Told police Dalits are still discriminated against: Gautam

Updated - October 12, 2022 04:35 pm IST

Published - October 12, 2022 01:52 am IST - New Delhi: 

Former Delhi Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam talking to media after appearing for questioning at Paharganj police station in Delhi on Tuesday.

Former Delhi Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam talking to media after appearing for questioning at Paharganj police station in Delhi on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: PTI

Rajendra Pal Gautam, who resigned from the Delhi Cabinet on Sunday, was called for questioning by the police on Tuesday in connection with his presence at a religious event in the Capital in which around 10,000 people purportedly converted to Buddhism while taking vows boycotting Hinduism and Hindu deities.

Mr. Gautam found himself in the eye of a political storm after videos of the event went viral on October 7, two days after the event was held in Delhi. After being cornered by the BJP, Mr. Gautam offered an apology stating that the event was an annual affair commemorating the day when B.R. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism with lakhs of Dalits on October 14, 1956, where he took the same vows.

Talking about the police questioning, Mr. Gautam said, “The main question that the police had was about the 22 vows and whether it was relevant today considering that situations have changed from 1956. I told them that there is still a lot of discrimination against Dalits and that the vows are still relevant.”

A senior police officer said no FIR has been lodged in the case yet and that Mr. Gautam was released after three hours of questioning at Pahar Ganj police station.

While AAP has so far maintained silence over the event, its MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak, when asked about Mr. Gautam being called for questioning by the police, said “it’s an old relationship with the Delhi Police” due to BJP's “dictatorship”. However, he did not comment directly on the issue.

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