Ravidas Temple: Activists plan protest
New Delhi: Dalit activists led by Ravidasi sants have called for a second protest march on September 21, demanding the release of those who were arrested one month ago during a show of protest against the demolition of Ravidas Temple in Tughlaqabad.
On Monday, a group of civil society activists also demanded the release of Dalit activists, mostly belonging to the Bhim Army led by Chandrashekhar Azad.
The decision of the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Shiromani Guru Ravidas Mandir Sanyukta Sanrakhshan Samity, an umbrella body of Dalit groups formed for the temple movement, decided to call for a second protest march on Saturday, which would start from Jantar Mantar and head for the Tughlaqabad temple site. Last week the activists offered prayers at the site while also demanding release of those who are being held under judicial custody.
At least 96 young activists, including, Azad were arrested in Delhi and before that others were arrested in Punjab for protesting on the same issue and they have been kept in judicial custody, Dalit activist Ashok Bharti told TOI. The activists threatened to court arrest if their associates were not released. There are about 150 Ravidas temples in Delhi, according to Bharti.
Condemning Azad’s arrest, civil society organisations and student bodies dubbed the government’s actions as “anti-Dalit” and “anti-minority” and demanded that Azad be released immediately. They also demanded immediate reconstruction of Sant Ravidas Temple in Tughlaqabad.
The group also protested against the “unlawful” cases filed against over 750 people from the Dalit community, including national general secretary of Bhim Army, Kamal Singh Walia, in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur on September 10, where they were protesting against vandalisation of a statue of BR Ambedkar.
Senior advocate Mehmood Paracha, All India Students’ Association national president Sucheta De and Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) President Aishe Ghosh were among those who condemned the government for targeting Bhim Army leaders.
ANGER ON STREETS: The protesters have been demanding the immediate reconstruction of Sant Ravidas Temple in Tughlaqabad