Rajat Sharma

Political motives behind violent Dalit protests during Bharat Bandh

aka_frame_6874The Bharat Bandh call given by some Dalit organisations and supported by Congress, BSP, RJD, Samajwadi Party and other opposition parties to protest against the Supreme Court order diluting SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, turned violent in some states on Monday leading to the death of nine persons, and wanton destruction of public and private properties.

Hooligans indulged in largescale violence in the name of Dalit rights, even as the Centre filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking restoration of mandatory arrest in cases of atrocities on Dalits and tribals. Rumours and fake news factory worked on overdrive and in some states internet services had to be suspended.

The picture is clear – those who indulged in violence were supported by the party which had the largest base of Dalit supporters in UP, MP, Rajasthan and Haryana. The maximum number of arson and violence took place in these states. On the whole, violence took place during Dalit protests in 10 states, which have 71 Lok Sabha seats, where SC/ST voters are predominant. These seats are significant in view of the forthcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Most of the violent incidents took place in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where assembly elections are due towards the end of this year. Clearly, political motives were at work behind the largescale violence that took place during these protests.

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