New Delhi: A Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district on 7 October, over what police termed a love affair between the man and the wife of one of the accused. A video of the victim being assaulted with sticks had gone viral.
Days earlier, Rajasthan Police reportedly baton-charged farmers protesting outside the district collectorate office seeking the start of the paddy procurement season.
On 15 September, a minor Dalit youth was allegedly lynched by a mob in Alwar, after his bike hit a woman while he was trying to save himself from falling into a pothole.
In the same month, news surfaced that a 15-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped over a period of nine months in Maharashtra’s Thane district.
Under fire over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, the BJP has “compiled a dossier” of atrocities in Opposition-ruled states that it believes have not received adequate attention. This is part of the party’s counter strategy to stave off some of the criticism it has been receiving.
To begin with, the BJP conducted a press conference at its headquarters in Delhi Tuesday, targeting the Opposition and accusing it of indulging in “political tourism” for flocking to Lakhimpur Kheri.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that human rights violation when seen through a political prism also hurts human rights. This is exactly what is happening in Uttar Pradesh. What has happened in Lakhimpur Kheri is saddening but law will take its own course. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi are using this incident to cultivate votes,” said national BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra at the press conference.
“We don’t believe in political tourism. We want to target the selective outrage of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and others. They are projecting themselves to be champions of Dalits but are ignoring atrocities against Dalits in Rajasthan,” he added.
Opposition leaders such as Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have been camping in Uttar Pradesh ever since a convoy of Union Minister Ajay Mishra allegedly ploughed into a group of protesting farmers on 3 October. Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was allegedly part of the convoy. Eight people, including a journalist, died in the incident, including those killed in the ensuing violence.
Ashish Mishra has been arrested.
BJP looks to hit back
Concerned over the Lakhimpur Kheri issue being used by the Opposition to label the party and the Modi government as “insensitive”, “anti-farmer” and indulging in human rights violations, the BJP has decided to highlight “atrocities” in states ruled by the Opposition.
Its state units of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and others have compiled a list of incidents that the party feels have not been highlighted adequately enough.
According to a senior BJP leader in Rajasthan, the state unit is also planning to conduct demonstrations against “atrocities” being committed against farmers and Dalits.
“The incidents related to farmers, Dalits and women that have taken place in the Opposition states have been identified,” said a second senior BJP leader. “The state units have been asked to highlight them and show the people the reality that such incidents are not getting any space in the media and the political discourse.”
Even the prime minister appeared to take a veiled dig at the Opposition Tuesday.
Speaking at an event to mark the 28th Founding Day of the National Human Rights Commission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed “some people’s selective outrage to human rights”.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)