In a bid to “resist the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and protect democracy and the Constitution”, over 10 Dalit organisations, including factions of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (DSS), have decided to come together. They say that the intention is also to ensure the transfer of leadership of the Dalit movement to the next generation.
On B.R. Ambedkar’s 66th death anniversary, all these organisations are set to organise a massive unity convention at the National College Grounds at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru.
Mavalli Shankar, a senior Dalit leader, said, “We have decided to sink all our differences and join together. As a part of the united effort, we have created a six-member committee. All the major decisions will be taken by this committee.”
Indudhara Honnapura, one of the leaders who is instrumental in bringing the organisations together, explained why they were coming together at this juncture. “The RSS and the BJP are destroying liberty, equality, fraternity, social justice, and reservation. On the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the country is seeing a downfall on all fronts. The constitutional and democratic values are declining. Youths are disheartened by unemployment and communal politics is flourishing. Those who seek justice are being called traitors. Buddha, Basavaanna, Ambedkar, who were the champions of an equal society, have disappeared and communal personalities are coming to the forefront in their place,” he argued.
“All the progressive movements, which are supposed to awaken people and uphold secular and democratic values, seem weakened. As a result, working communities such as Dalits, farmers, labourers, women, and tribal communities are suffering. Therefore, the unity of all Dalit groups is the need of the hour,” he explained. He alleged that castes and sub-castes were being divided and in the name of Hindutva, minorities were being treated as enemies. “The Union government is destroying the reservation system, by handing over all public and cooperative sector enterprises as well as public assets to corporate companies. All the welfare programmes of the communities are being abandoned,” alleged Mr. Honnapura.
He admitted that some Dalit leaders and organisations had identified themselves with the BJP and the RSS, but the united group would try to bring them back to the fold of the Dalit movement. “Now, 10 progressive and secular Dalit organisations have decided to unite with us,” he said, adding that it was a continuous process.