Monday, March 8, 2010

Dalits greet DHRM leaders released on bail

Dalits gave a rousing reception outside the State Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram today to Dalit Human Rights Movement organizing secretary Das K. Varkala, and others who were released on bail after being in custody for nearly five months as accused in the Varkala Sivaprasad murder case.

Several hundred Dalit men and women had come from different districts to greet the DHRM activists.

The police has described DHRM as a terrorist organization and alleged that its activists had murdered Sivaprasad, who was on a morning stroll, to proclaim the strength of the organization.

Das, who addressed the gathering, said DHRM was a human rights organization and the police had falsely implicated it in the murder case. While the police alleged it was a terrorist organbization and they could not produce a shred of evidence in support of that allegation.

The police charge-sheet said that he was arrested from Aluva, near Kochi, but he asserted that police had called him out while he was inaugurating a seminar at Varkala and placed him under arrest.

He gave a detailed account of the torture to which he was subjected in various police stations in Thiruvananthapuram district and in the Central Jail. The torture took place at police stations where boards mentioning the protection to which Dalits were entitled under the law were displayed.

He said DHRM worked strictly within the bounds of law. The political parties had turned against it because they realized that its activities were weaning Dalits away from them.

Earlier, inaugurating the function, I pointed out that the treatment meted out to Dalits in Kerala was indicative of the regression taking place in the society, which had made big strides towards equality and equal opportunities in the last century. The political parties were trying to keep the poor in perpetual slavery. The government was taking no steps to help them to stand on their own legs.

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