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Dalit ire at RSS 'untouchables'
Lucknow: Dalits have objected to the identification of some saints as "untouchables" in hoardings for an RSS programme to be organised in Meerut from February 25.
The hoardings, announcing the Rashtrodya Samagam (Nation Awakening Meet), have been put up all over the city. The RSS defended the writing by claiming it was a quote by Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, Dalit icon and the Father of the Constitution.
The hoardings have a picture of Ambedkar and the following sentence in Hindi: "The Hindu religion was honoured by a Brahmin like Vashisth, a Kshatriya like Krishna, a Vaishya like Harsh and a Shudra like Tukaram. Similarly, it was honoured by untouchableslike Valmiki, Chokhamela and Ravidas."
Valmiki, a 5th century saint, had written the Ramayana. Chokhamela was a 14th century saint from Maharashtra. Ravidas was a poet-saint of the 15th century who lived in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Kailash Chandol, a Dalit leader in Meerut, said: "The Sangh does not have any plans for the development of Dalits. They don't think about our development or the eradication of untouchability. That is why they keep reminding us about the caste of our saints. They have contempt for us.
"That is the reason why the Yogi Adityanath government scrapped the holiday on Valmiki's birth anniversary. Now, they have dubbed our saints untouchables in their hoardings. We will protest against such an attitude of the RSS against our community."
Chandol said the Dalits would organise a rally and a demonstration in Meerut on February 25, when the Sangh meeting will begin at the Jagriti Vihar Extension area.
Over 1 lakh Sangh workers from 14 districts of west Uttar Pradesh are expected to attend the deliberations in which more than 100 saints from across the country will be present.
Ajay Mittal, the zonal publicity head of the RSS, told reporters in Meerut that the writing on the hoarding was "only a quote by Ambedkar".
"There exists caste divisions in the country against which the Sangh is struggling. There is a reservation system because of the social disparity," Mittal said.
"Ambedkar himself had first said the words written on the hoardings. But some people may be looking for an excuse to oppose us," Mittal added.
Source: (