IAMC Weekly News Roundup – September 10th, 2018

In this issue of IAMC News Digest

Announcements

News Headlines

Opinions & Editorials

Announcements

Activists disrupt Hindu supremacist conclave in Chicago, evoke violent reaction from extremists

Anti-fascists slogans call for a stop to Hindu fascism during plenary session of World Hindu Congress

September 9, 2018

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of progressive South Asian groups across the United States in coordination with the local community, today lauded the activists who disrupted the plenary session of the World Hindu Congress, a conclave convened by organizations aligned with the Hindu supremacist ideology that is spearheading the violation of human rights and religious freedom of minorities in India.

The event has been deeply mired in controversy since the Alliance for Justice and Accountability, along with a wide range of Indian diaspora organizations have denounced it as an attempt to mainstream Hindu fascism in the United States. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who had initially agreed to chair the three day Congress severed all connections with the event.

On Friday evening, several young activists from Chicago South Asians for Justice raised signs and called out, “RSS Turn Around, We don’t want you in Our Town,” and “Stop Hindu Fascism.” Some conference attendees erupted in a violent rage, spitting on the protesters, shoving them to the floor, and choking one of them. Two protesters were arrested and charged with trespass and disorderly conduct, while one conference attendee was charged with battery. “We endured extremely violent and demeaning behavior from a bunch of self-righteous Hindutva fanatics who refuse to acknowledge their complicity in promoting and furthering fascism. Their response is indicative of their fascist mindset that brooks no dissent, and we refuse to allow it to be promulgated in our state without a fight,” said one of the protesters who courted arrest.

“This is deeply significant,” said Nesamani Rajamani of AJA. “These young leaders did what Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi could not, which is to speak truth to power. This courageous act confronting hate on its own ground is the first direct action against caste in the diaspora. The brave hearts made a choice as people of conscience to stand up to Hindu Fascism and Brahminsm, and we believe that as long as the RSS and the Sangh continue to go after Dalit Bahujan peoples, people of conscience will stand up and resist together,” added Mr. Rajamani.

Earlier on Friday, a truck bearing billboard size messages “Boycott World Hindu Congress” drove around the Lombard area. Hindutva is the term for a politicized ideology of Hindu ethno-nationalism associated with brutal violence toward India’s minority communities, particularly Dalits (those previously designated “untouchable” by the traditional caste system) and Muslims, as well as Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, and secular critics. Some of the most virulent hatemongers of Hindutva are featured speakers at the WHC, such as RSS chief Mohan Rao Bhagwat and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, both of whom have a long public record of advancing misogyny, hate crimes and attacks on minorities, as well as assurances of impunity for its perpetrators.

On Saturday, AJA held a protest outside the conference venue, with the stated goal of “standing in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in India who are fighting against the #HIndutva rule and will not be silent in the face of mob lynchings, rapes, murders, and the targeting of our leaders and academics.”

AJA’s Ashwin Khobragade said, “Antifascists in the South Asian diaspora who care about racial and caste justice, and who disagree with the blanket criminalization of Muslims, have to be no less vigilant in standing against the VHP and RSS than we do against American neo-nazi, white supremacist, and ethno-nationalist groups. The time has come to organize, unite, and to win”.

While the WHC promotes its agenda as “a global platform for Hindus” to network, inspire and strategize for “the common good,” its true agenda is to advance the jaundiced view of the world espoused by the VHP of America, American branch of the India-based Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP); the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, American branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was founded under the inspiration of Nazism; and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF). These groups are also affiliated with the ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under whose rule since 2014 there have been over a hundred lynchings of Dalits, adivasis and Muslims, often using the dog whistle of “cow protection.”

Calling for a boycott of the event, AJA engaged in outreach to a number of US politicians including Tulsi Gabbard, Ash Kalra, Jay Chaudhuri and Raja Krishnamoorthy, who had initially been slated to participate under the guise of cultural pluralism and interfaith harmony. After learning of the partisan and extremist nature of the event, Gabbard, Kalra and Chaudhuri severed their connections with it. In a separate development, The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago condemned the appearance of fascists speakers at the conference.

Krishnamoorthi did attend, chairing a panel on political leadership, but indicated that he wishes to hold a meeting with Muslim groups in his constituency who have expressed their deep objections to his support for anti-Muslim activities in India. South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) has issued a statement taking Krishnamoorthi to task for sharing a platform with RSS ideologues and rescinding their offer to him to speak at their Congressional Briefing on hate violence and post-9/11 policies.

AJA has launched a twitter campaign #StopHinduFascism, to shed light on the violence and demand accountability from speakers and sponsors of the event. The impact of the twitterstorm awoke many Americans to the rising issues of #HinduFascism in the world.

Contact:
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability
Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: stophindufascism@protonmail.com
Alliance for Justice and Accountability, 6321 W. Dempster St., Suite# 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2848

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‘RSS Turn Around, We don’t want you in Our Town’ slogan greets WHC Chicago Conclave (Sep 10, 2018, Ummid.com)

The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), an umbrella organization of progressive South Asian groups across the United States in coordination with the local community, today lauded the activists who disrupted the plenary session of the World Hindu Congress (WHC), a conclave convened by organizations aligned with the Hindu supremacist ideology that is spearheading the violation of human rights and religious freedom of minorities in India.

The event has been deeply mired in controversy since the Alliance for Justice and Accountability, along with a wide range of Indian diaspora organizations have denounced it as an attempt to mainstream Hindu fascism in the United States. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who had initially agreed to chair the three day Congress severed all connections with the event.

On Friday evening, several young activists from Chicago South Asians for Justice raised signs and called out, “RSS Turn Around, We don’t want you in Our Town,” and “Stop Hindu Fascism.” Some conference attendees erupted in a violent rage, spitting on the protesters, shoving them to the floor, and choking one of them. Two protesters were arrested and charged with trespass and disorderly conduct, while one conference attendee was charged with battery.…

http://www.ummid.com/news/2018/September/10.09.2018/hindu-fanatics-react-violently-as-alliance-for-justice-and-accountability-protest-against-world-hindu-congress.html

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Right-wing terror: Maharashtra ATS arrests two more suspects from Jalgaon (Sep 9, 2018, Hindustan Times)

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested two more people on Saturday night, from Jalgaon district, while investigating a nation-wide terror plot allegedly involving members of the right-wing organisation, Sanatan Sanstha.

The two arrested have been identified as 32-year-old Ajay Londhi and 29-year-old Vasudev Suryavanshi from Sakli village of Yavul taluka, in Jalgaon district. They were arrested on Saturday night.

ATS sources said two teams raided Suryavanshi and Londhi’s homes and garages on Thursday evening. Among the suspicious items were CDs with arms training content, bomb-making literature and maps of different cities with marked locations, like the site of the music festival Sunburn in Pune.…

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/right-wing-terror-maharashtra-ats-arrests-two-more-suspects-from-jalgaon/story-SabBVBlWoZkxTBwPTB85XO.html

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BJP MLA Ram Kadam promises to kidnap women for men who seek his help, faces backlash (Sep 5, 2018, Indian Express)

Ram Kadam, a BJP MLA in Maharashtra, found himself at the centre of a controversy after a video of him allegedly promising to abduct women, for men who seek his help, went viral. The MLA, from Mumbai’s Ghatkopar constituency, made the claim at a dahi handi event on Monday night after which it went viral on Twitter.

The video, shared by NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad on Twitter, shows Kadam allegedly talking to the men in the crowd. The MLA offers his telephone number to the men and says they can call him for help at any time. The MLA then says that if the any of the men has proposed to a girl and is facing problems, he would speak with the man’s parents. If they also approve of the marriage, Kadam says he will kidnap the girl for them.

“You can call me… if you call me saying I have proposed a girl and need your help… I will definitely help you… I will call your parents and ask them… If they say they like that girl then… I will kidnap that girl and give it you… now take my number”, Kadam says in the video to the thousands gathered for the event.…

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/bjp-mla-ram-kadam-faces-backlash-over-his-kidnapping-girls-remark-5339554/

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Cow attacks BJP MP Liadhar Vaghela, admitted in ICU with rib, head injuries (Sep 1, 2018, Deccan Chronicle)

BJP’s Lok Sabha MP Liladhar Vaghela was injured after a stray cow attacked him outside his residence on Thursday evening. He was admitted to the ICU with broken ribs after being attacked by the cow.

According to reports, the 83-year-old MP from Patan, Gujarat, was out for a walk when a stray cow attacked him outside his residence in Sector 21, Gandhinagar. The octogenarian MP was rushed to the Apollo Hospital by passers-by and admitted to the ICU after initial examination. Doctors said that he has sustained injuries to his ribs and head.…

According to local media, the senior politician has sustained two fractures and clotting in the head. After the accident, the doctors have kept him in the ICU as his condition is quite critical.

https://deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/010918/cow-attacks-bjp-mp-liadhar-vaghela-admitted-in-icu-rib-head-injuries.html

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Protest in Boston against arbitrary arrest of human rights defenders in India (Sep 3, 2018, Twocircles.net)

Over 50 people assembled at Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to protest against the arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders and activists across India. The event was organized by the Coalition for a Democratic India, on August 31, 2018.

The people gathered from the Boston metropolitan area demanded the immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Fereira, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonzalves and Gautam Navalakha who were arrested under false allegations of having “Maoist Links”, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) – a draconian law that allows the police to keep the defendant in custody for prolonged periods of time without bail that the Government has been misusing to suppress dissent.

Civil society organizations and citizens, including persons of Indian, South Asian and American origin, expressed growing concerns over draconian measures taken by the BJP Government that not only undermine democracy and Constitutional rights but also hurt the Indian economy and further disenfranchise vulnerable tribals, Dalits, and Muslims.…

http://twocircles.net/2018sep03/425706.html

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‘Down With Fascist Regime’: Woman Student Arrested For Raising Anti-BJP Slogan On Plane (Sep 4, 2018, Outlook)

A woman student shouted anti-BJP slogans in front of the party’s state unit chief, Tamilisai Soundararajan, on board a domestic flight Monday and she was whisked away by police after landing here. Soon after the BJP leader and the student arrived at the airport’s arrival lounge here from Chennai, a quarrel ensued, which was caught on a camera.

Tamilisai is heard telling the student and the people who gathered at the lounge that a flight was no place to raise slogans. Tamilisai is heard telling the student and the people who gathered at the lounge that a flight was no place to raise slogans. “It (inside of a flight) is not a public forum…how can you expect me to keep mum when she shouts ‘down with BJP’s fascist government’ looking at me? Is it freedom of expression?” she asked.…

DMK chief M K Stalin, meanwhile, in a tweet said he too would say that “Down with BJP’s fascist regime”, and asked how many people would the government be able to arrest. He said the student must be released forthwith.…

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/down-with-fascist-regime-woman-student-arrested-for-raising-anti-bjp-slogan-in-f/316012

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Sohrabuddin fake encounter case: Nephew of Prajapati deposes, reveals police plot (Sep 4, 2018, Free Press Journal)

Kundan Prajapati, nephew of Sohrabuddin’s aide Tulsiram Prajapati, in his deposition mentioned the names of the four police officers who told him they wanted to kill his uncle. Kundan, a key witness, had earlier written a letter stating the reasons for not appearing before the court, in which he had also mentioned he apprehended a threat to his life.

In his deposition on Monday, he told S J Sharma, Special Judge of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, Tulsiram feared being killed in an encounter. “A month before my mama was killed by police, he had shared his fears of being killed in an encounter. I had accompanied my uncle with my friend from Ahmedabad-Udaipur, to a court hearing.”

“When we reached the railway station, the police booked us under a false narcotics case and took us into custody illegally. The police officers, Abdul Rahman, Yugvir Singh, Kartar Singh and Narayan Singh, assaulted us and said they wanted to kill my mama and we had spoilt their plot,” added Kundan.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/sohrabuddin-fake-encounter-case-nephew-of-prajapati-deposes-reveals-police-plot/1348737

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Muzaffarnagar riots: Non-bailable warrants issued against 6 people in murder case (Sep 5, 2018, Business Standard)

Non-bailable warrants (NBWs) were issued against six people for not appearing in court in connection with a murder case during the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, a lawyer said Wednesday.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Ankur Sharma has issued non-bailable warrants against Ravinder, Prehlad, Bishan, Tendu, Devender and Jitender and directed police to produce the accused persons before the court on October 4, lawyer Mohsin Zaidi said.

According to a complaint filed by Mohammed Waseem, his son Shahnawaz was stabbed by eight people in Kawal village on August 27, 2013. The incident led to widespread tension in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts in which more than 60 people were killed.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/muzaffarnagar-riots-non-bailable-warrants-issued-against-6-people-in-murder-case-118090500916_1.html

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“Supreme Court Is Ours”: UP Minister Says Why Ram Temple “Will Be Built” (Sep 9, 2018, NDTV)

A minister in Yogi Adityanath’s government has claimed that the Ram temple the BJP promised in Ayodhya will be built, “since the Supreme Court is ours”. Mukut Bihari Verma, the cooperative minister in Uttar Pradesh is the second minister to talk of pushing through the construction of a Ram temple, when a decision on the matter in pending in the Supreme Court.

A special bench of the court is hearing 14 appeals filed against a judgment delivered in 2010 by the Allahabad High Court, which ordered that the land in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood, be divided equally among three parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

“The BJP has come to power on the issue of development but Ram Mandir will be constructed as it is our determination. The matter is in Supreme Court and the Supreme court is ours. The judiciary, administration, the nation as well as the Ram Temple belong to us,” Mr Verma has told reporters.…

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/supreme-court-is-ours-up-minister-mukut-bihari-verma-says-why-ram-temple-will-be-built-1913721

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Assam Village Imam declared ‘foreigner’ suspects Conspiracy to drive out Muslims (Sep 4, 2018, Sabrang India)

Abdul Kadir is the Imam of the mosque in his village. He is a much loved and highly respectable member of his community. People look up to him for his wisdom and good counsel. However, now both, he and his wife Hamida Khatoon have been declared foreigners by a Foreigner’s Tribunal. Moreover, all his children have also been declared foreigners.

Abdul Kadir was born and raised in Solmari village located in Morigaon district of Assam.… But trouble began in 2017 when the Superintendent of the Border Police referred names of Kadir and Hamida to the Foreigners’ Tribunal in Morigaon stating that they were Bangladeshi. While both produced multiple documents including revenue receipts, land sale deeds, Haj travel documents and even names in electoral rolls, the FT was not satisfied and passed an order declaring them foreigners in November 2017.…

Interestingly the FT Order contains an address in MoimanSing, Bangladesh for the family, but Kadir has never been there! “I rarely even leave my village. I have never left the country! How did they come up with an address in Bangladesh,” we wonder. “My name appears in the Voters’ Lists of 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2017, as does my wife’s. As and when children attained majority their names were also added,” says Kadir.…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/assam-village-imam-declared-foreigner-suspects-conspiracy-drive-out-muslims

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Opinions and Editorials

Anti-terror squad looks for ‘Murali’, brains behind killings, terror plots since 2008 – By Manish K Pathak (Sep 5, 2018, Hindustan Times)

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has turned its focus to finding a man from Marathwada who they believe masterminded attacks and the killings of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.

Two ATS officials – one from Pune and one from Mumbai – told HT on condition of anonymity that a man called MD Murali was behind these killings, as well as several alleged terror plots since 2008.

The officials, investigating the role of alleged sympathisers of the right-wing group Sanatan Sanstha in these murders and various terror plots over the past five years, said they identified Murali, after questioning Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Shrikant Pangarkar and Avinash Pawar – the five men the ATS has arrested over the past few weeks in connection with the attacks.…

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/anti-terror-squad-looks-for-murali-brain-behind-killings-terror-plots-since-2008/story-yOYsUm86qkHr26pl7eZ0DJ.html

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1 Year, 160 Arrests: In Run up to 2019, NSA Is the Latest Weapon Against Muslims in UP – By Neha Dixit (Sep 10, 2018, The Wire)

On March 4, 2018, a year after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power on the plank of improving law and order in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Adityanath claimed that not a single incident of communal violence had taken place in the state since he took over. Ten days later, the Union home ministry tabled statistics in parliament which showed that Uttar Pradesh continues to top the list of states in terms of the number of incidents of communal violence and related deaths – 44 people were killed and 540 injured in UP in 2017.

This compares poorly with 29 deaths and injuries to 490 people in 2016, and 22 deaths and 410 injuries the previous year. The incidents of communal violence in places like Bulandshahr and Saharanpur clearly showed the involvement of the Adityanath-led Hindu Yuva Vahini and local BJP activists. Those involved were reprimanded but strict legal action against the culprits did not follow.

On January 16, 2018, the Adityanath government issued a press statement in which it said the UP police had invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against 160 people in order to control law and order. This was one of their prized achievements, apart from racking up 1200 police encounters in 10 months. … In popular parlance, the NSA is known as a law in which there is ‘no vakil, no appeal, no daleel’ (no lawyer, no appeal, no argument).’ … Locals believe that just as the 2014 elections were preceded by a large number of minor communal clashes which polarised voters, these clashes and selective detentions under the NSA are part of the Sangh parivar’s preparation for the 2019 general elections.…

https://thewire.in/rights/in-adityanaths-up-the-national-security-act-is-latest-weapon-against-muslims

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Rat poison – By Sumanta Banerjee (Sep 1, 2018, Countercurrents)

There is a nation-wide scare about a plot to kill our beloved prime minister Narendra Modi-ji by Maoists. Thanks to the ever alert police force of Maharashtra – and aided by our even more alert national investigative agencies – the conspirators have been apprehended before they could carry out their plot. …

The next in our list of the beloved – after our prime minister of course – is our most popular and dear TV anchor Arnab Goswamy. It was he who first waved that letter on the Republic TV screen exposing the links that these social activists and others had with the Maoist plan to kill the prime minister in a “Rajiv Gandhi type plot.” He should surely be proud of his exposure that has led to the arrests.

But now, in the midst of Goswamy’s drooling ecstasy over the arrests, suddenly a spanner has been thrown in from an unexpected quarter. Prakash Ambedkar, (grandson of the legendary leader of the Dalit movement – sorry, I should use the term Scheduled Caste, as required by the government’s recent order – Bhim Rao Ambedkar) who is the president of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, has come out with an observation that rubbishes this whole scare about the death threat that our prime minister is supposedly facing.…

https://countercurrents.org/2018/09/05/rat-poison/

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No, Mr Kadam – Women cannot be kidnapped at will – Editorial (Sep 8, 2018, Times of India)

Ram Kadam, a BJP spokesperson and MLA from Maharashtra, undermined his party’s Beti Bachao slogan when he offered to kidnap girls for the boys in his constituency. But the friendly MLA said he would disregard the girl’s will only if the boy’s family was on board.

“If the parents of the boy like the girl, I will 100% help the boy in abducting the girl,” he promised, even handing out his phone number. Of course, opposition parties pounced on him, with Congress politician Subodh Saoji revealing his own illiberal colours by offering a bounty to chop Kadam’s tongue.…

Kadam fails to see the women he promised to potentially kidnap are his constituents too, independent of the parents who want to protect them or the men who want to marry them. This is the crux of the issue. So it’s not enough to mock Kadam and his party with ‘Beti Uthao, Beti Bhagao’ or ‘Ravan Kadam’ inversions, we must first acknowledge that women are not just betis or treasures or future nurturers of families, they are their own persons. Their security being threatened by their own MLA would then be the clear outrage it is.

https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/no-mr-kadam-women-cannot-be-kidnapped-at-will/

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Yet Another Communal Game Plan of the BJP: A Private Members Bill to Deport ‘Intruders’ – By Zamser Ali (Sep 8, 2018, Sabrang India)

There appears to be another sinister game-plan underway. At a time when NRC is being updated in Assam for identification of Indian Citizens in Assam, under the supervision of the Supreme Court, a private member’s bill (The Illegal Immigrants (Identification and Deportation Bill, 2018) has been quietly tabled in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament on August 6, 2018.

This Private Member’s Bill, discreetly tabled by a lawmaker, Narayan Lal Panchariya from the ruling BJP from Rajasthan, raises suspicion and concern about the ruling dispensation’s motives around the Assam NRC issue.…

The aim and intent behind this Bill appears distinctly majoritarian and communal. In its Aims and Objectives, the reasoning it states, “to provide for an institutional mechanism for identification of illegal immigrants in the country and their deportation and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”…

https://sabrangindia.in/article/yet-another-communal-game-plan-bjp-private-members-bill-deport-intruders

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OK, let ‘Dalit’ continue to be – Editorial (Sep 6, 2018, Free Press Journal)

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is only the messenger boy. The order to media to stop using ‘Dalit’ for people categorised as scheduled castes came from a high court. The British had coined ‘scheduled castes’ in 1935 to sum up a bunch of humankind born on the subcontinent and punished for breathing the same air the ‘higher humans’ inhaled.

The British summation actually highlighted the divisions percolating down to the lowest caste in the Hindu hierarchy. These are people, ironically, also branded ‘caste-less’. In short, the enlightened and liberal English, with the only thing fair about them their fair skin, were hardly of any help; but couldn’t have expected much from a nation of shopkeepers, anyway.…

Coming to the here and now, who should have the right to name? The people who are being given a nomenclature themselves, a judge or a government? Clearly, those who are being saddled with a term, they have the first right to reject. And they have rejected every other term and chose ‘Dalit’. BR Ambedkar went for ‘broken man’ and ‘depressed classes’ for a time but those fell to ‘Dalit’ in the early 1970s.…

http://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/ok-let-dalit-continue-to-be/1350108

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