Dalit Activists Arrested During Press Conference In Lucknow

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Lucknow: Several Dalit activists have been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police from the Press Club in Lucknow, where they had called a press conference. The police said they arrested the activists because they planned to take out a rally after the presser that they did not have permission for.

The activists, including Dalit leaders like Ramesh Dixit, Ram Kumar and retired bureaucrat SR Darapuri said they planned to talk about “atrocities against Dalits” at the press conference and also, Mr Darapuri said, about 50 Dalits being offloaded by the police in Jhansi yesterday to prevent them from reaching Lucknow, where they planned to meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and present his a gigantic bar of soap.

The group of Dalits were travelling from Ahmedabad in Gujarat and had with them a 125 kg bar of soap to present the UP chief minister.

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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 Adityantah’s function in Kushinagar.

The Dalits from Gujarat said they wanted to personally gift the soap to Yogi Adityanath in a symbolic protest. The police gave no reason or them 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.