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Ravidas Temple: Shadow of Dalit politics on Tughlaqabad protest

The police arrested around 100 protestors including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad. The demonstration was organized by various groups assembled under the umbrella of Ravidas Sangharsh Committee.

Ravidas Temple: Shadow of Dalit politics on Tughlaqabad protest
The Delhi Police resorted to mild lathi-charge and fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of Dalits, protesting against demolition of Saint Ravidas temple in south Delhi

T
he chants of "Mandir wahin banayenge" (We will build temple there) reverberated the national capital on August 21 as thousands staged protests here. The usual political slogan, however, was not a call for building the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The protestors on the capital streets were agitated over the demolition of Guru Ravidas' temple in Tughlaqabad by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

The procession went out of control as it reached the demolition site. They fought pitched battle with the police in trying to storm past the barricades, smashing vehicles on the way.

The police arrested around 100 protestors including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad. The demonstration was organized by various groups assembled under the umbrella of Ravidas Sangharsh Committee.

With general disdain for political representatives from the SC/ST community who are viewed to have deserted the cause, Bhim Army has emerged as a major pressure point challenging established voices like Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Chandrashekhar Azad is attracting support from the youth of the community as his firebrand speeches has made him a popular leader.

He has made Uttar Pradesh as Bhim Army's primary base but its influence is spreading across the country. He came to Delhi to lead the protest in Tughlaqabad. New political alignments are emerging in Uttar Pradesh as Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav demanded Chandrashekhar Azad's immediate release.

The support from SP came even as Mayawati's BSP kept a distance as Chandrashekhar Azad is seen as an emerging rival.

Dalit activists to sit on indefinite dharna from August 30


Dalit activists on Tuesday said they will sit on an indefinite dharna from August 30 at Jantar Mantar to demand rebuilding of a Ravidas temple at its original place in south Delhi's Tughlakabad area.

The Guru Ravidas Jainti Samaroh Samiti also demanded unconditional release of 96 people, including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who were arrested for allegedly indulging in rioting during the protest against the demolition of the temple.

"Till the time the land is given back to the Guru Ravidas Jainti Samaroh Samiti, which is the lawful owner of the land and the temple is restored at its original place by Samiti, we will be sitting on an indefinite dharna from August 30 at Jantar Mantar," Sant Sukhdev Waghmare Maharaj told reporters.

"The protest was carried out in a peaceful manner. But some outsiders indulged in violence and our children were arrested. We want they should be released without any conditions," he said.


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