Separate complaints seek legal action against the publisher of The Caravan and the author of the controversial column published by the magazine that claimed the Indian state was using Dalits like cannon fodder. The magazine may face action not only under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act but also under various stringent Sections of the IPC and IT Acts.
New Delhi: The Caravan (magazine) and Ajaz Ashraf, author of the controversial article that claimed that Dalits in the CRPF were cannon fodder, will now face the law. Two complaints have been lodged against the discriminators — one at the SC/ST Commission and a police complaint filed on Sunday in south Delhi.
The complaints are against the article published after the Pulwama massacre that sought to build a narrative that the bodies of Dalits who had laid down their lives in the line of duty were being denied decent cremations.
Underlying the feverish display of nationalism by the urban middle-class, comprised predominantly of upper-caste Indians, is an irony that few have paid attention to—the lower-caste poor account for most of the deaths.— The Caravan (@thecaravanindia) February 22, 2019
Ajaz Ashraf reports: https://t.co/mqFV6PgnKt#PulwamaAttack
Complaint at SC/ST Commission
Satish Vaid filed a complaint in the commission that was set up to protect the rights of the tribal people. The complaint was filed on February 22, addressed to Ram Shankar Kathariya, the chairman of the commission.
Vaid sought the commission’s intervention to register a case against the author of the article as well as the publisher of The Caravan under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Vaid argues in his complaint, “The article brings caste angle to jawans who die for the nation with only one identity 0- of being Indian...To call some jawans Dalits has hurt my sentiments.”
Vaid says, “The author has made public caste related information of every martyr with an article that points to caste discrimination. it even refers to some families as victims of discrimination. By doing this, he has ensured these families are martyrs of caste-based hatred, even after this period is over. Certain families will be considered as seeking caste-based benefits even during such tragic times. The article has permanently wounded the families. Every community has contributed to sacrificing for the nation as Indian without any caste considerations.”
Vaid wants the commission to get the article removed. He wants the commission to turn the complaint into an FIR against the author and the publisher.
While MyNation contacted Ram Shankar Kathariya, he feigned ignorance of the issue and said he was not in the town.
On February 23, another police complaint was filed at Delhi Police's south district demanding action against the same article. But this time, along with Ajaz Ashraf, the complainant sought action against the editor of the magazine. Complainant Sudhanshu Kumar Sultania, a research scholar, filed the complaint with the Maidangarhi police station demanding an FIR be lodged against the author and editor under IPC Sections 131, 124,121,295A,153A,153B, 505, 120B as well as 67A and 67 of the IT Act.
Sultania argues, "This is a malicious attempt to spread the hatred in the nation and to disturb the social harmony of India. For this purpose, they are using social media. Twitter handle account @thecaravan has 185.1 thousand followers on Twitter. These posts/tweets have become viral on social media. it may breach the peace of the society and can damage national integration of India."
A source in Delhi Police said, requesting anonymity, “A complaint has been received and the matter is under consideration.”
What did The Caravan do?
The magazine had published an article in which all the jawans who were martyred in the dastardly Pulwama terrorist attack, were profiled according to their respective castes. The magazine made an argument that most of the jawans were from Dalit backgrounds, creating a narrative of Dalit subjugation. This article was widely criticised.
The CRPF blasted the media house saying, “We in CRPF identify ourselves as Indians. Not more, not less. This You should strictly refrain from insulting all the martyrs. They are not statistics for your demeaning and meaningless write-up.”
We in CRPF identify ourself as Indians. Not more, not less. This pathetic divisiveness of caste, color, and religion doesn't exist in our blood. You should strictly refrain from insulting all the martyrs. They are not statistics for your demeaning and meaningless write-up. https://t.co/SOlRUwF878— Moses dhinakaran (@dhinakaran1464) February 22, 2019
When contacted, Caravan's political editor Hartosh Singh Bal said he still stood by the story. "Those who claim to own nationalism. a small percentage of urban upper-caste Hindutva votaries, are the ones who are the ones less likely to be among those who make the actual sacrifices," Bal said.
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Last Updated Feb 25, 2019, 6:46 PM IST