The alliance of Dalit leaders with the Islamists is not only an unpardonable insult to Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar, it also seriously compromises the safety, welfare and developmental interests of the SC/ST/OBC communities in the following ways:
1.It distances the Dalit leaders from the interests and sentiments of their own communities
A case in point is the anti-CAA protests. The CAA fast-tracked the provision of citizenship for the non-Muslim refugees who had escaped religious persecution from the neighbouring Muslim-majority countries. Almost all of these refugees are Dalits who faced discrimination, murders, abduction, rape and forced conversions in these Muslim-majority countries.
The Islamists in India organized anti-CAA protests and riots. The most peculiar feature of these protests and riots was that even though there was no popular support, political or moral, from the ST/SC/OBC masses, many Dalit leaders joined the Islamists. Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party opposed the CAA while Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party went on to promise pension to anti-CAA protesters if it comes to power in 2022. Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar was actively involved in organizing the protests in Delhi that turned violent.
Thus, when these leaders had to choose between the interests of Dalit communities and their own alliance with the Islamists, they unhesitatingly chose the Islamists, completely ignoring the feelings of Dalit beneficiaries of the CAA.
2. It severely limits the ability of Dalit leaders to oppose anti-Dalit violence and discrimination.
That the low-caste Hindus, even in the 21st century, face discrimination cannot be denied. Therefore, they need leaders who can stand up for them in their pursuit of justice. The Dalit-Muslim alliance forces the Dalit leaders to keep silent when the perpetrators of such anti-Dalit violence or discrimination are Muslims. Because if they speak up, the political alliance, expressed in the slogans such as “Jai Bhim-Jai MIM”, will be in immediate danger.
Those who need evidence of the impotence of these leaders in face of Muslim atrocities, may find the following cases relevant:
a.) Even after Justice Pawan Kumar committee’s report and several media reports, Dalit leaders remain silent on the large-scale forced conversions and horrific violence against Dalit men and women.
Justice Pawan Kumar himself from Valmiki caste, along with two SC and two General caste persons, recorded the pathetic condition of Dalit Hindus in Mewat.
b.) 18 April 2020 : Muslim mob attacked Maha Dalit colony in Warisaliganj, Bihar. A 55 year old Dalit man Ravidas was shot dead by Mohammad Irfan, 6 other injured in the communal violence. No one cared.
c.) 9 June 2020 : A Muslim mob led by Samajwadi Party leader Javed Siddiqui attacked and set ablaze the houses in a Dalit basti in Jaunpur, UP.
Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar, instead of demanding strict action on the rioters, warned Dalits of “the hidden agenda of RSS” and complained, “ I am working for the unity of the weaker sections. Some people are conspiring to break this unity”.
d.) 12 June 2020 : The brutal Rituparna Pegu murder in Guwahati, Assam by four Muslim men in broad daylight was a non-issue for the Dalit organizations outside the North-east.
These are only a few instances among many, where the “Jai Bhim – Jai MIM” brigade kept silent. If the perpetrators were upper-caste Hindus, the scenario would have been entirely different.
When an upper-caste man refused to eat food prepared by a lower-caste cook at a quarantine centre, it was an arrogant display of casteism. When a Muslim man did the same, it was a non-issue.
3. It forces them to focus more on deceptive propaganda rather than genuine cases of discrimination.
In order to shield their Islamist collaborators from the criticism and antipathy of the ordinary members of the SC/ST/OBC communities (such as myself), these leaders and parties find themselves in dire need of deceptive propaganda. Thus they spread fake news (and sometimes even fake “fact-checks” ) and half-truths, in addition to the genuine cases, to bombard Dalits with news of anti-Dalit discrimination by upper-castes.
It is also seen that wherever caste-based discrimination is done by a non-Brahmin, non-Rajput caste, it is often simply ignored as that doesn’t fit into the Brahmanvaad scheme.
4. It completely shadows the most real and urgent issues of the Dalit/Adivasi communities.
Ideally, our leaders must be most passionate about speeding up the process of upliftment of these communities from poverty and backwardness. In reality, this is not the case.
These leaders and parties use (waste) the energy and resources of their organizations on promoting the Islamist agenda, which have no real connection with the Dalit masses. The focus should be on quality-education, health-care including family planning, research and development of distinct tribal arts, medicine, languages and culture, strong anti-conversion laws and so on.
If a large section of Dalits/Adivasis are poor and backward, our leaders have no moral right to expect us to join their mad endeavour of Dalit-Muslim unity. We simply cannot afford to leave our real issues behind just to support an ideology that gives us the options to “convert, leave or die” wherever and whenever it becomes dominant.