The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

August 25, 2011

Udit Raj emerges as symbol of Dalit, OBC, Muslim resistance after grand rally in Delhi

Dr Udit Raj
With his huge rally to protest the exclusion of Dalits, Tribal, OBCs and Muslims apart from other minorities in the Anna Hazare's movement, Dr Udit Raj has emerged as the rallying point of the vast majority of citizens who oppose the current version of Jan Lok bill.

Dr Udit Raj's rally at India Gate on Wednesday that drew members from other groups also, has brought to fore the simmering discontent among the sections of society who felt that Hazare's movement was backed by casteist forces, urban elite and right-wing groups.

Political observers say that the demonstration and the march towards Jantar Mantar has send signals to the polity that Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Muslims, Other Backward Castes (OBCs) and sections of poor and weaker sections are suspicious of the anti-corruption movement.

They feel that the drive for Jan Lok Pal bill was not in the interests of the majority of Indians and was aimed at subverting the authority of the constitution. The fact that Hindutva leaders and spiritual gurus like Baba Ramdev,  Bhayyu Maharaj and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have been part of the Anna agitation has already alarmed Muslims and Dalits.

The slogans at the Ramlila Ground were also jingoistic and more in sync with Hindutva groups. "Media coverage of the agitation gave an impression as if the majority population supported Hazare whose movement to undermine parliament can have disastrous consequences", said an analyst.

"What is civil society? What mandate they have? If they are civil, are we uncivil?". "The truth is that the silent majority is strongly opposed to the bill but their voice is not aired by Upper Caste controlled media which is heavily biased in favour of Hazare".

"The Dalit-OBC-Minority led Save Constitution rally was not given adequate space in media but it has shaken power corridors and sent a powerful signal to everybody including politicians and society". "Had the rally not affected traffic, it might have been totally ignored by mainstream media".

Udit Raj, the president of Indian Justice Party, has been leading the agitation against Anna Hazare. He has said that a bill that will be in the interest of the Bahujans (majority Indians including SC/ST/OBC/Minorities) would be proposed soon.

Dalit activists feel that while Mayawati's stand on the issue has been ambiguous, Udit Raj has taken a lead and his campaign to mobilise the youths and forge a grand Dalit-Muslim alliance, which showed up in Delhi on Wednesday, have brought the real issues surrounding Anna movement to the fore.

Anna Hazare is on a fast at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi for over a week. Though he commands respect for his agitations and fasts against corruption, the current agitation organised by Team Anna which comprises Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi has alarmed large sections of society.

Kejriwal has been a supporter of Youth for Equality, a movement against caste based reservations in jobs and education. There has been no Dalit, Muslim or Tribal in the team though Saffron forces including RSS influence is clearly visible on the participants at the Ramlila Ground.

Muslim leaders have been skeptic as Anna had praised Narendra Modi. Shahi Imam Ahmed Bukhari had said that Muslims would consider supporting him if he condemns the massacre of Muslims during Gujarat riots and dissociate himself from his earlier stand. 

TIH Bureau

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