The first convention of Dalits was organised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kullu this weekend. It formed the Himachal Dalit Shoshan Mukti Sabha at the two-day convention that ended on Sunday and attended by more than 140 delegates, said Tikender Panwar, CPI-M leader.
Himachal Pradesh has the highest number of Scheduled Caste population after Punjab. The Dalits in Himachal like elsewhere are also the poorest and have the least resources including the land holdings.
The Dalits shared their bitter experiences of humiliation and atrocities that had been committed on them in an otherwise sleepy State. They demanded a special session of the Vidhan Sabha on Dalit atrocities, reservations in private sector, special packages and rewards for inter-caste marriages, redistribution of agriculture land and 200 days’ minimum jobs in MNREGA for the SCs.
The convention elected Paras Ram from Mandi as its president and Lokendra from Kullu as its general secretary.
The convention was also addressed by S. Srinivas Rao, leader of the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Morcha, who said the Dalits should organise to form a democratic movement and not get into the politics of identity.