UP CM Yogi Adityanath will be bestowed with the 'Dalit Mitra' award on April 14 when the nation celebrates Dr BR Ambedkar's 127th birth anniversary.
In a development that may irk Dalit politicians targetting the Bharatiya Janata Party over their alleged anti-Dalit stand, the Ambedkar Mahasabha has announced to confer ‘Dalit Mitra’ award (Friend of Dalits) on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. According to reports, Ambedkar Mahasabha Lalji Prasad Nirmal has announced that this year, the prestigious award will be presented to Adityanath. The CM will be bestowed with the award on April 14 when the nation celebrates Dr BR Ambedkar’s 127th birth anniversary.
As expected, the move has stoked a controversy with the Ambedkar Mahasabha members questioning Lalji’s intention. Harish Chandra and SR Darapuri, both the founding members, have now called an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to initiate disciplinary action against Lalji. They said that he has overstepped his brief by announcing the award. They said that after Adityanath was made the CM of Uttar Pradesh, atrocities against Dalits have increased.
“Constituting an award and giving it to Yogi will only rub salt into their wound,” a Times of India report quoted Darapuri, a retired IPS, as saying.
Chandra, a retired IAS officer, said that the Ambedkar Mahasabha was formed to spread the principles of Dr BR Ambedkar and not to serve anyone’s personal interest. He said that members of the Mahasabha have been seeking records for the organisation but its present administration has not responded to their requests. Ambedkar Mahasabha was founded in 1990. Darapuri and Chandra are lifetime members.
Meanwhile, defending his decision, Nirmal said that Adityanath is a friend of all citizens of the state, therefore he is also a friend of Dalits. He also rejected allegations of personal interest. Nirmal was appointed as the president of Ambedkar Mahasabha in 2013 after he retired from the UP Secretariat.
The development comes amid allegations levelled by a Dalit BJP MP that CM Adityanath had scolded him and shunted him out when he met him to discuss a problem related to party affairs. The Dalit MP was identified as Chhotelal of Robertstganj.
The development also comes at a time of debate over rising incidents of atrocities against Dalits, something that the opposition has tried to pin on the government’s head. The BJP government at the Centre and other states have however claimed that it has brought many laws and policies that helped in uplifting the Dalits by promoting equality in the society.
A Supreme Court ruling on March 20 had over changes in certain provisions of the SC/ST Act triggered violent protests by several Dalits groups across the nation leaving nine people dead.