The Republican Party of India led by Union Minister Ramdas Athawale will go to the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court directive to the government to refrain from using the word “Dalit” officially and in the media.
Mr. Athawale told presspersons that the word “Dalit” symbolised the struggle undertaken to give these communities their rights. “It isn’t an insult,” he said.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued an advisory to all media outlets last month not to use the word while referring to the Scheduled Castes.
Ram Vilas Paswan, the other Dalit face in the Narendra Modi government, was cautious.
“The word Dalit is aggressive by nature. You can use any word, Dalit or Scheduled Caste; it is meant for the oppressed and exploited classes. Such debates will not exist if we are able to put an end to this oppression,” Mr. Paswan said.
Mr. Athawale said that while he did not object to the use of the term “Scheduled Caste” in government affairs, the word “Dalit” should not be turned into a “worrisome word” in common usage.
“I have no objection to the use of ‘Scheduled Caste’ in government works, but it isn’t fair to ban media, authors and other such persons from using the word ‘Dalit’. It should be left to them whether they wish to say Scheduled Caste or Dalit,” he added.