LUCKNOW:About 31 Dalit activists were arrested on Monday afternoon by the Uttar Pradesh police from the Press Club in Lucknow, where they had called a press conference. They were all released later. The police said they arrested the activists because they planned to march later towards Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence, which they did not have permission for.
The activists, including Dalit leaders like Ramesh Dixit, Ram Kumar and retired bureaucrat SR Darapuri, said they would talk about “atrocities against Dalits” at the press conference and also, Mr Darapuri said, about 50 Dalits from Ahmedabad in Gujarat being offloaded from a train by the police in Jhansi yesterday to prevent them from reaching Lucknow, where they planned to meet the Chief Minister and present him with a gigantic bar of soap.
dalit activists arrest
Police said the Dalit activists were planning to take out a rally without permission.
They said they wanted to personally gift the 125-kg soap bar to Yogi Adityanath in a symbolic protest. In May this year, people belonging to a Scheduled Caste in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district had alleged that they were given soap and shampoo by the local administration ahead of a visit by the Chief Minister. Members of the Mushahar community — one of the poorest in the state — said they were asked to take a bath and “clean up properly” before attending Yogi Adityanath’s function in Kushinagar.
The UP police gave no reason for the Gujarat Dalit group being asked to get off the train in Jhansi, but those offloaded said they were told it was for reasons of security.
They were taken to a local guesthouse and later sent back to Ahmedabad by train.