The Koregaon Bhima incident was a shock to all of us. It is serious, rather very serious. One has to look it at in the larger perspective of what is happening all around us.
Who was responsible for it? We have told Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. We have given the names of two persons - Sangli-based Sambhaji Bhide Guruji and Pune-based Milind Ekbote, the founder of Samastha Hindu Aghadi, for the January 1 violence at Koregaon Bhima. They must be arrested.
We all know about the RSS and Sangh Parivar activities, we know of several Hindu fundamentalist organisations. Recently, we came across a Facebook post by one Raosaheb Patil, who is a close aide of Bhide Guruji. In his post, he had said that Chief Minister Fadnavis and Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat must be eliminated. This is serious.
Such people and organisations are posing a threat. While the RSS and many Sangh Parivar outfits are known or scrutinised Hindu fundamentalists, now we have the likes of Sambhaji Bhide and Raosaheb Patil, who are unscrutinised fundamentalists. They pose a greater threat due to their anonymity.
We have differences with the BJP or Sangh Parivar and there is nothing hidden about it. But these unscrutinised groups are fringe
elements who are trying to control even the RSS.
This is a battle for supremacy between the mainstream RSS and these unscrutinised elements. In fact, organisations like the RSS face threat from them -- and they know about it.
When we speak of the current situation, the January 1 event was a solemn event, where people had gone to pay respects to their ancestors. They were in Koregaon Bhima to pay homage. But they were attacked, beaten up. Properties were burnt down. What was the reason?
There is a battle of supremacy between RSS-led Hindu organisations and radicalised Hindu terrorist groups. They want to make each other irrelevant through means of violence and this is what happened. In all this, the common man is suffering. In fact, the Centre and the governments in all states must keep a check on these unscrutinised elements.
Let me go back to what Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had said.
We speak of building a temple. But before we could install God, the Devil had taken over.
My grandfather said that the day you begin caste and religious politics, you are going to feed the Devil. When the Devil does not get food, he preys on his own children.
Dr Babasaheb Ambedkars life-long struggle and work was all about removing the Devil and seeing that God is installed. That struggle continues even today.
The recent incident has shown that there is unity among the people at large and the Dalits. In the past, too, they were united, but only political parties saw otherwise. They do not need a leader, they are together and this was clearly seen after the January 1 incident.
The people want a functioning system, but thats being sabotaged by multiple interests. For example, the Supreme Court, in three different judgements, had clearly defined what sedition means. Today, however, everyone is trying to give sedition his own meaning and flaunt his own sense of nationalism. This is creating a rift in society.
Dr Ambedkars message was loud and clear: political democracy must stand on social democracy and recognise liberty, equality and fraternity. What my grandfather had wanted has not been achieved. There are still many miles to go.
The Devil is the caste system, Brahmanism, unregulated capitalism, greed in society and people who do not have an objective or a roadmap for the masses and nation-building.
There are political devils, religious devils and co-religious devils, all within the Hindu fold. Because of this, every section of society is dissatisfied, let alone Dalits.
The present government is also acting like the Devil. It is trying to impose on us what we can and cannot eat. The Mushahar community eats rats. People in Nagaland and Mizoram eat beef and pork. But the government wants to impose vegetarianism on all.
The present government is hell-bent on dividing the society and the country.
India is a pluralistic society, and this needs to be kept intact. If you disturb that fabric, it will have long-lasting effects on India. We need to completely remove the hatred against each other in society, against castes, against religious communities.
We must ensure that no one takes advantage of the fault lines in the caste system. Indian society cannot be developed unless the poor, the neglected and the marginalised are brought into the mainstream. For that, the caste conflicts must first end.
(Prakash Ambedkar is founder-president of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and a former MP)