Shadow of Dalit politics on Tughlaqbad protest

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) The chants of "Mandir wahin banayenge" (We will build temple there) reverberated the national capital on August 21 as thousands staged protests here. The usual political slogan, however, was not a call for building the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The protestors on the capital streets were agitated over the demolition of Guru Ravidas' temple in Tughlaqabad by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

The procession went out of control as it reached the demolition site. They fought pitched battle with the police in trying to storm past the barricades, smashing vehicles on the way.

The police arrested around 100 protestors including Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad. The demonstration was organized by various groups assembled under the umbrella of Ravidas Sangharsh Committee.

With general disdain for political representatives from the SC/ST community who are viewed to have deserted the cause, Bhim Army has emerged as a major pressure point challenging established voices like Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Chandrashekhar Azad is attracting support from the youth of the community as his firebrand speeches has made him a popular leader.

He has made Uttar Pradesh as Bhim Army's primary base but its influence is spreading across the country. He came to Delhi to lead the protest in Tughlaqabad. New political alignments are emerging in Uttar Pradesh as Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav demanded Chandrashekhar Azad's immediate release.

The support from SP came even as Mayawati's BSP kept a distance as Chandrashekhar Azad is seen as an emerging rival.

--IANS

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