M Ghazali Khan | Caravan Daily
LONDON — It’s not only in India that the oppressed Hindus, known as Dalits, are being subjected to most discriminatory and dehumanising brutalities, but the curse has not spared them even in UK where among Hindus and Sikhs discrimination is rampant and a “hidden apartheid” exists here as well, a meeting at SOAS, University of London, has been told.
The meeting organised by South Asia Solidarity Group, CasteWatch UK and SOAS South Asian Diaspora Society, coinciding with the day of action in solidarity with students in India, March 2, was addressed by Sat Pal Muman Chairperson of CasteWatch UK and Kavita Krishnan of the Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) and former Joint Secretary JNU Students Union.
In his shockingly revealing speech Muman said that questions about one’s caste are raised in factories where drinking fountains are segregated, in schools Dalit children are bullied and in shops cashiers refuse to serve them while in jobs promotion is denied to them.
Mr Muman said that it was after an intensive and long battle that Anti- Caste Discrimination was incorporated in Section 9(5) of the Equality Act 2010 but the Hindu right in UK has sabotaged its implementation.
According to Muman caste supremacists have gone as far as targeting the MPs who support the implementation of the legislation and have succeeded in manipulating members of Parliament instilling in them the fear of losing votes.
“Our war on Caste has brought these reactionaries together who want to continue to discriminate. I find it difficult to understand why Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in the guise of Dharmic communities are opposing our call to implement caste discrimination legislation”, he said.
Citing the example of the fascist mind-set of caste supremacist Mr Muman referred to a meeting in Leicester wherein Dr Prakash Shah, Reader in Culture and Law at Queen Mary University of London, called Dr Ambedkar “an idiot” while another person, Mr Gautam Sen, warned that Hindu groups would oppose the legislation “to the last drop of our blood”.
In her wide ranging speech Kavita Krishnan said that a new awakening is taking place in India and its impact was first noticed in the recent Bihar Assembly elections in which candidates who had made alliance with BJP in the past were shunned by the voters. The death of Rohith Vemula, she said, has exposed the systematic and institutionalised attempts to crush Dalit students in India and this assault has been intensified under the BJP government using groups like the ABVP.
Ms Kavita said that the attempts to muzzle and annihilate the movement by JNU students, large number of whom are from Dalit and poor families, is part of the same systematic pattern which began with the banning of Ambedkarite students.
She added, “This movement has now got a new energy and gone beyond being a student movement. It has also led to an inspiring coming together of multiple Ambedkarite and left perspectives. What we are witnessing now is an all out attack on the Constitution and an attempt to appropriate Ambedkar”.
Kavita said that the insistence of Modi that he ccomes from low caste background is nothing but an attempt to divert public attention from his crimes committed during 2002 Gujarat Massacre. She said he is mischievously trying to appropriate Dr Ambadar so much so that he penned an article in Gujarati about Golwalkar in which he lists “some great men of India”; and among them Ambedkar is described as a “modern Manu”, despite the fact that Ambedkar had recommended burning the Manusmriti.
In an expression of solidarity with JNU students participants in the packed hall posed together for a photograph with placards demanding the dropping of all sedition and other motivated charges against JNU students, scrapping of the colonial sedition law and the enactment of a Rohith Act to protect Dalit students