By TCN News,
New Delhi: Claiming that the government is trying to suppress agitating dalit and adivasi voices, the 30-odd dalit and adivasi activists released from police custody said they will not be intimidated and will not compromise on their fundamental rights.
“The government is trying to suppress agitating dalit and adivasi voices but with a 260 million population demanding their rightful share in the Union Budget 2015-16, it is clear that it is on the back foot. We demand an audience with Smriti Irani, the Union Human Resource Development Minister, to reclaim dalit and adivasi share in education,” said N Paul Divakar, one of the activists, soon after release on Thursday.
Stating that the future of millions of dalit and adivasi students are at stake, Dr V Ramesh Nathan, general secretary, National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ), added, “We have had enough. We can’t stand by while the Modi Government destroys us. We will not be intimidated, and we will not compromise on our fundamental rights.”
After their release from police custody late Thursday evening, the 30-odd dalit and adivasi activists said the police had initially threatened to register cases against all of them. “They (police) let us off only after fervent pleas,” they said. Dalit woman activist and national coordinator Beena Pallical was also injured by policewomen during the subsequent crackdown on her in front of the Parliament Street Police Station,” the activists claimed.
The students and activists were arrested on Thursday afternoon from Shastri Bhavan when they had demanded to meet Irani over unfair budgetary allocations in education of dalit and adivasi students. At the time of the arrest, the delegation, including Divakar, dalit activist and general secretary of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), were about to submit a Memorandum of Demands to the Minister asking for reallocation of funds. The activists were then taken to the Parliament Street Police Station, a release said here.