Sena-BJP should apologise to Dalits: Cong MP
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 15, 2012
The Congress wants the saffron alliance to tender an apology for the
death of 10 dalits in police firing at Ghatkopar's Ramabai Nagar in
1997, when the Sena-BJP was ruling the state government. Eknath
Gaikwad, Member of Parliament (Congress), on Tuesday, demanded that
Shiv Sena chief Bal
Thackeray, his son Uddhav and BJP leader Gopinath Munde, the then
state home minister, tender an unconditional apology to the dalits for
killing their brethren in Ghatkopar. "The Sena-BJP has no moral right
to seek Dalit votes after killing them. Thackeray and Munde must
apologise for the merciless killing," said Gaikwad.
The police had, on July 11, 1997, ordered firing on a dalit mob
staging a violent agitation following desecration of Dr Babsaheb
Ambedkar's statue at Ramabai Nagar. Ten people were killed in the
firing. Munde had justified the firing saying that the mob was about
to torch a tanker parked on the road. Rubbishing the theory, a
committee headed by justice SD Gundewar had indicted a state reserve
police officer, Manohar Kadam, for indiscriminate and needless firing.
Kadam was later sentenced to life imprisonment, which has been stayed
by the high court. Last year, the sessions court acquitted eight
people from the mob charged for rioting.
For Dalit community –18-20% of city's population -- the issue is close
to their hearts. The Congress has now raked up the issue at a time
when the Sena-BJP alliance is trying to woo Dalit voters to retain
their hold over the BMC.
In a bid to shed their anti-Dalit image, the Sena has even forged an
alliance with Ramdas Athawale-led Republican Party of India.
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