The incidents of Saharanpur in the last few days have been extremely disturbing. It is important, however, to remember the facts: two processions which were taken out without any permission, one led by the BJP MP and the other by an organisation of Rajputs to ‘honour’ Maharana Pratap, were responsible for arson, loot and violence. In the first incident, members of the minority community had to face the brunt of the attack and, in the second, members of the dalit community. It is also a fact that neither the leaders of the BJP procession nor those of the Rajput procession have been arrested. During the arson, one man died most unfortunately and the post mortem report says that he died due to asphyxiation. His family has been given compensation of 10 lakhs.
The district administration has not, however, made any announcements as to compensation for the losses incurred or for medical aid to the injured.
On tuesday, members of the Dalit community and some members of the Bheem Sena wanted to hold a Dalit Mahapanchayat in Saharanpur to demand justice for those who were injured and looted. This was denied. Despite this, they gathered in the Gandhi Maidan and were holding a meeting, peacefully. This was lathi charged by the police. After this, there were incidents in which arson was resorted to. But the Dalit youth did not burn homes or attack people or target a particular community. Despite this, the police and administration is targeting them. Arrests and searches are being carried out in their homes, bustees and villages.
There are also indications that the State Government is planning to use NSA against Dalit activists including Chandrashekhar, the head of the Bheem Sena. This would be extremely unfortunate and vindictive.
I would appeal to the Government of UP not to resort to such unjust measures but to try and restore peace by seeing that justice is done and all those guilty of hate-mongering, violence and arson are punished. Compensation must be paid to those who have suffered losses and injuries.
Statement released by Subhashini Ali, ex MP, Member Polit Bureau, CPI(M)