In another showdown after April 2, the Dalit community is now gearing up for a face-off against the Narendra Modi government during the monsoon session of Parliament. According to The Indian Express, the community is planning a Bharat Bandh on August 9, on a much bigger scale than the one held in April this year. The Dalits have called out on all political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to take up their demands in the Monsoon session of the Parliament, setting July 30 as the deadline for the government to reach out to them. Dalit activist Ashok Bharti told TOI that in case the Centre failed to meet their demands, the Dalits along with farmers, industrial workers and other minority groups plan to come on the streets across the nation in protest.
The protest would be held through joint rallies, sit-in dharnas, striking work across cities and towns in the country. The protest would include strikes by Dalits, farmers groups, ex-servicemen and also minorities. A joint press conference, slated for July 24, would be held by various groups to call on the government to pay heed to their demands. A series of meetings were held, over the last few weeks, between leaders of three social organisations – farmers, Dalits and ex-servicemen. The outcome of the meetings led to the creation of a movement to raise the bar for these agitations.
The Centre’s promises of bringing an ordinance to strengthen the Prevention of Atrocities Act had no influence on the Dalit and Adivasi communities. The assurances were made by two Cabinet ministers, Ram Vilas Paswan and Thaawarchand Gehlot. However, the Social Justice Ministry, headed by Gehlot, hasn’t released an ordinance yet. Gehlot also indicated that the ministry had no plans to bring in any Bill to this effect in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament and will wait for the Supreme Court ruling on the same.