Dalits from Haryana threaten to convert to Buddhism
A Dalit organisation in Haryana has alleged that people from the community in Hisar district’s Bhatla village are being socially boycotted by members of the upper castes and have threatened to convert to Buddhism. During a recent protest at the Hansi mini-secretariat, they had demanded strict action in the matter.
The community has been facing social boycott since July last year, and police officials and members of the village’s ‘Bhaichara Samiti’ (peace committee) have not helped in resolving the issue, Bhatla Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (BDSS) president Balwan Singh claimed.
Due to the social boycott in the village, people are being forced to sell their animals and they are being deprived of employment, Raj Kumar, a Dalit, said. Even the water and power supply in the Dalit locality is being interrupted for the last three months, he claimed. Ajay Bhatla, who had filed a petition in this regard, said that on the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a commissioner visited the village to prepare a report, but officials gave him “wrong information”.
However, officials concerned and the police have denied the charge. Dalit activist Jai Bhagwan Bhatla said, “Dalits are living in fear. They cannot stay in the village in such conditions and would migrate to another place.” “They will also adopt Buddhism in the near future due to the continued social boycott and anti-Dalit policies of administration,” he said.
However, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Hansi, Narender Singh denied the allegations and claimed that there was no social boycott of Dalits by the upper castes in Bhatla. The officer said a commissioner appointed on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had visited the village recently. He will submit his report to the court in this regard, he said.
Earlier this month, as many as 120 Dalits from Haryana’s Jind district converted to Buddhism over non-fulfilment of their demands.