These days, Yogi’s BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is holding conferences of Dalits at various places claiming to be Dalit friendly and acting for their welfare. The truth of his claim is fully exposed by the incident of putting Dalit leaders in jail in Gorakhpur last month by the government for demanding land for Dalits, the details of which are as follows: –
On October 10, 2023, a dharna was organized in the premises of Gorakhpur Commissioner’s office by Ambedkar Jan Morcha in Gorakhpur demanding allotment of one acre land to landless Dalits. I was also invited as a speaker in that. I reached Gorakhpur by morning train on 10th October and stayed in a hotel. From there I reached the protest site at around 12.30 pm and I gave a speech for about 15 minutes in which I talked about the need for land for the Dalits, the justification for the demand for land allotment and the land allotted by Indira Gandhi in the past. After about half an hour I was back at the hotel.
There was a crowd of about 8-9 thousand at the protest site and about 99% of them were women who were very excited and vocal about the demand for land. Police and magistrate were present there and the entire program was going on in a very disciplined manner. On the occasion, I met the main coordinator of the protest, Shravan Kumar Nirala, Dr. Siddharth Ramu and some other acquaintances.
The next day on October 11, at 6 am, the hotel owner told me that the police inspector had come to meet me. When I went down to the lobby, he told me that I had to go to the police station. I told him that I can leave only after freshening up, taking bath and having breakfast etc. On this I came back to my room and tried to talk to the protest organizer Shravan Kumar Nirala but found his mobile switched off. I suspected something wrong and I wrote a post on my Facebook at around 07.15 – “I had come yesterday to participate in the public meeting organized at Gorakhpur by Ambedkar Jan Morcha on the issues of Dalit and civil rights and the meeting was completely peaceful. This morning the Gorakhpur police has come to take me to the police station.” On this, Dinkar Kapoor, the State General Secretary of our party All India People’s Front, immediately posted on Facebook against my arrest. After this, after having breakfast etc., at around 08.30 the Inspector took me to Police Station Ramgarh Tal and I was made to sit there. After that I was taken to Police Station Cantt along with two others. From there, after medical examiation in the hospital in the evening, I and eight other people were sent to Gorakhpur jail. We were able to enter the jail barrack at around 1.30 pm but we did not get anything to eat the whole day. As is clear, I was arrested from Rama Hotel at 8.15 in the morning but in the police papers, my arrest is shown at 4 PM in the evening from Railway Bus Stand.
The next day, on 12th October, we came to know through the newspaper that a case has been registered against us in the Cantt police station on 11th October, crime number 717/2023, section 147/188/342/332/353/504/506/307/120 B IPC, Section 7 Criminal Law Amendment Act and Section 3 Damage of Public Property Act and 138 Electricity Act in which 13 people have been named and 10-15 are unknown accused. In this, we have been accused of holding a meeting without permission, violating Section 144, obstructing the work of a government employee, causing injury, and threatening, damaging government property, conspiracy and stealing electricity. The allegations levelled against us are false and baseless as is clear from the following analysis: –
1. Holding a meeting without permission – Organizer Shravan Kumar Nirala had applied for permission many days ago and he had also met the officials personally, on which the officials had given him verbal assurance of making complete arrangements. On the day of the meeting, installation of shamiyana etc. had started at the meeting venue from 9 am, but no objection was raised by any official on this. After that, from 11 am to evening, the entire program continued peacefully and police force and officers were present there and no one objected to it. At 9 pm, the District Magistrate came to the spot and received the memorandum and termed the demand for land allotment as justified and assured to form a committee and ended the protest. It remains to be seen that if the protest was without permission, then why did the administration not stop it in the beginning and why did the District Magistrate come to the spot and took the memorandum and assured to form a committee?
2. Allegation of electricity theft: – This is completely fake and baseless because it was not possible to get any kind of electricity connection there. There was arrangement for a generator on the spot and arrangements for mike and lighting were made from it.
3. Allegation of assault and strangulation of the Commissioner’s office employee: This is completely baseless and untrue because the complainant had not made any mention of it in the written complaint given at the police station. According to the medical examination, he had only complained about the problem of smell and pain in the right shoulder, for which the doctor had asked to refer him to an ENT surgeon and get an X-ray done. It is noteworthy that in this case, the first information about the incident at 11 am on the 10th was written with a delay of about 18 hours at 6 am on the 11th. There was no mention of strangulation of the complainant but later, after 5 hours, the statement of strangulation was added to his 161 statement which is completely fake. Its main objective was to make our crime non-bailable and put us in jail.
4. Vandalism in the Commissioner’s office: – This allegation is also completely fake and baseless because there was no disturbance of any kind of peace there.
5. Not giving the status of political prisoners in jail and keeping us with common criminals: Whereas a few days ago, special arrangements were made by keeping the ABVP members who had assaulted the VC of Gorakhpur University in a separate barrack. During our stay in jail, we also came to know that before this, murder accused leader Amarmani Tripathi was kept alone after vacating the entire barrack. Whereas we were treated like common criminals.
It is clear from the above description that all the allegations made against us are false, fake, and baseless and have been made only to scare us and others and to suppress the land demand of Dalits. Based on these allegations, 9 of us, including 4 journalists including a woman who had come from Delhi, were arrested, and kept in jail for 3 weeks. Its main objective was to give the message that if anyone raises the demand for land in the future, his fate will also be like that of us.
SR Darapuri, National President, All India Peoples Front