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BSP supremo Mayawati sets off for violence-hit Saharanpur, asks BJP to stop Dalit persecution

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 23 May 2017, 10:12 AM

With the recent caste clashes in Saharanpur giving Mayawati an opportunity to regain lost ground among her support base, the BSP chief has set off to visit the scene of violence on Tuesday. Addressing the media at the threshold of her visit in Lucknow, BSP chief warned BJP against apathy for Dalits. 

"BJP promised people that they will appoint OBC-leader Keshav Prasad Maurya as chief minister but crowned an upper caste candidate," BSP chief said, arguing that Dalits are always persecuted in BJP rule.  

Mayawati condemned the ruling Yogi Adityanath Government for 'not-even visiting' the site of violence. "Now that I am going, probably CM will follow," she said. 

Mayawati’s visit to the trouble-torn area comes in the backdrop of the Dalit outfit Bhim Sena staging a massive dharna in Delhi over the issue.The organisation of Dalit youths across seven states in northern India, was founded by a young lawyer Chandrashekhar two years ago, and shot into prominence during the clashes.

After the BSP’s drubbing in the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, it will be Mayawati’s first attempt to reach out to her Dalit constituency.

She will leave for Saharanpur from Delhi by road to visit Shabbirpur village in Badagaon area, a party release issued here said.

Mayawati had last week denounced the Yogi Adityanath government for the clashes alleging that it had failed to fulfil its foremost constitutional duty of providing security to people.

Earlier this month, one person was killed and around 15 were injured as members of different castes clashed over the the garlanding of Rajput king Maharana Pratap’s statue.

Around 20 to 25 upper caste ‘thakur’ community youths of Shabbirpur village were on their way to attend a function for garlanding the statue of Maharana Pratap organised in Simlana village under Badgaon police station area when Dalit locals objected to playing of loud music, triggering an exchange of heated words.

The altercation soon snowballed into a full-blown clash with both groups throwing stones and bricks at each other.

A police team somehow pacified the upper-caste youths and asked them return but they came back with more people to Shabbirpur village and indulged in brick batting and arson, torching 15 to 20 houses of the scheduled castes.

As many as 16 people from both sides were injured in the incident. Sumit Rajput (35), who suffered injuries in the violence, died later.

Enraged over the killing, an angry mob torched several houses of Dalits in the village and also set afire several police and other vehicles.

First Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 09:09 AM

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