Dalits question Anna Hazare's rationale
Headlines Today Bureau | New Delhi, August 24, 2011 | Updated 00:30 IST
The Dalits are not rallying around the anti-corruption crusader Anna
There are many wars being fought alongside Anna Hazare's fight against
corruption. If his is the voice against corruption, then there are
many others that are rising against him and questioning his rationale.
The Dalits, for one, are not rallying around the anti-corruption
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati may have thrown
her weight behind him, but Dalit thinkers and leaders call his
movement to be against the very Constitution that their great icon
B.R. Ambedkar drafted.
"Anna didn't talk about the minorities/SC/ST till the time we raised
this issue. Why hasn't he ever spoken about the Dalit issues? For our
rights, why hasn't he fasted?" said Dalit leader Udit Raj.
"We'll present a Bahujan Lok Pal. It will be for the SC/ST. We'll hold
a rally at India Gate at 4pm on Wednesday, then will go to Parliament
and then to Jantar Mantar," he adds.
Author-activist Kancha Ilaiah said, "The Saffron brigade is back in
the form of Gandhi topis (caps). This is an upper class movement. All
Dalits and minorities should come on the streets against this."
The chorus continues to get shriller.
"This movement is undermining democracy. If Dalits protest against
Anna, then they should be allowed," said Dalit writer Chandra Bhan
This new front against anti-graft movement hasn't escaped the Team
"A few Dalit leaders are creating mischief. There is nothing
anti-Dalit," said activist Swami Agnivesh.
So much so that when Hazare broke his silence after 40 hours, he
sought to set the record straight.
"Chhoot achhoot ko hamko khatam karna hai (We have to end
untouchability.)," Hazare said, adding, "I got to know that someone
wrote that Dalits in my village do not have equal right. I think he is
brother of Kapil Sibal. That's why he is writing such things."
After a section of Muslims opposed Hazare, the Dalit dissent could
snowball into a bigger issue facing Team Anna. The Dalit leaders in
Delhi have threatened a huge rally on Wednesday at India Gate, one of
the epicentres of the Anna movement.
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