Dalit procession attacked in Meerut

Activists allege increase in attacks on Dalits and Dalit icons over the past month

Published - April 15, 2017 10:51 pm IST - MEERUT

A ‘shobha yatra’, a celebratory procession taken out by the Dalit community to mark B.R. Ambedkar's birth anniversary, was fired upon and attacked by Jats in the Gesupur Shumali village of Meerut on Saturday.

During the procession, over a dozen rounds of bullets were fired and the Dalit community was attacked with stones. The ‘shobha yatra’ had to be stopped midway due to stone pelting and firing on the procession. Heavy police was deployed to restore calm in the area, which has a history of Jat-Dalit clashes. Superintendent of Police Ajay Sahdev visited the area along with other police personnel.

This comes a day after a statue of B.R. Ambedkar was vandalised and blackened by unknown people, which angered Dalits and led to tension in the area. Members of the Dalit community approached the police and filed a complaint against the dominant Jat community.

After this incident, which occurred on Friday, an angry Dalit youth wrote an allegedly abusive post towards the Jat community, which heightened tension in the village further.

Part of a trend

Dalit activists allege that the attack is a part of a trend with an increased number of attacks on Dalits since the Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had come to power. Dalit activist and academician in Meerut College Satish Prakash alleged that in Meerut district alone, over two dozen minor and major attacks on Dalits had taken place over the last one month.

"In Meerut district alone, over two dozens major and minor attacks happened on either the Dalits or Dalit icons, like the statue of Ambedkar. The party that is trying to appropriate Dalit icons like Ambedkar is supervising and I can safely say, encouraging this trend. The government has failed to prevent or stop the attacks," Dr. Prakash told The Hindu . "Dalits are being attacked when they try to celebrate and hail their icons like Ambedkar.”

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