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Dalit flogged in Badayun, UP; en masse conversion to Buddhism in Una Gujarat

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Dalit flogged in Badayun, UP; en masse conversion to Buddhism in Una Gujarat

Amid reports of brutalised Dalits converting to Buddhism en masse in Gujarat’s Una district, came news of Rajputs in Uttar Pradesh’s Badayun flogging a Dalit labourer for not obeying their orders to come immediately for harvesting their wheat crop.

Sitaram, a Dalit agricultural labourer in Azampur Bisoria village in Badayun district, was tied to a tree, flogged badly and his moustache ripped out by the village thakurs. Media reports said the thakurs had asked him to cut the standing wheat crop in their fields. Sitaram reportedly told them he could come only after two days.

This infuriated the thakurs. They dragged him to the village square, tied him to a tree and thrashed him. Still not satisfied, they pulled out his moustache, said media reports.

The incident occurred on April 23 but the local police registered a case only a week later after the intervention of Superintendent of Police Jitendra Kumar Srivastav, said media reports.

UP Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission has taken cognisance of the incident. The UP SC ST Commission chairman Brijlal directed ADG Police (Bareilly zone) to proceed to the spot, take stern action against the culprits and ensure security of the victim of the assault. He has also sought a report on alleged police negligence and the action taken against the officers responsible.

The news comes at a time when hundreds of Dalits in Una, Gujarat converted to Buddhism on Sunday, a day before Buddha Jayanti, in reaction to the injustices meted out to them and the oppression of caste-based atrocities and discrimination.

Reacting to the development on Monday, April 30, BJP MP Udit Raj cited “social injustice” as the reason behind the move and called it “a dangerous situation”. ANI quoted him as saying:  “Dalits are beaten up for even having a moustache. I don’t know what alternative they have.”

Pradip Parmar, the BJP MLA from Asarva who was present at the conversion, told the gathering, “I congratulate those who are set to take diksha… I am a BJP worker and the party gave me a ticket, but had Babasaheb not given the Constitution and the provision of reservation, I would not have become an MLA.”

The conversion ceremony was held at the village Mota Samadhiyala, 15 km from Una in the Saurashtra region of the State where four persons were flogged in 2016 for skinning a dead cow in village near Una.

Those who converted to Buddhism included the four and 45 members of their family.

Vahsram, Ramesh, Ashok and Bechar had been allegedly beaten up by ‘cow vigilantes’ while skinning the carcass of a cow in Mota Samadhiyala village on July 11, 2016. The assailants had accused the Dalits of slaughtering the cow. Balu and Kunvar, who rushed to the spot to rescue the four, and Devashi Babariya and Arjan, who tried to intervene, had also been beaten up. Later, the accused had taken Vashram, Ramesh, Ashok and Bechar to Una town, tied them to a vehicle and publicly flogged them. Videos of the incident had gone viral, leading to an outcry.

Police investigation later determined that the cow had been killed by a lion.

Balu Sarvaiya, one of the converts, said, “We are embracing Buddhism today. There is no point being in a religion in which you are treated as second class,” reported The Indian Express (IE).

He said that even two years after the incident, the State government had hardly done anything for the victims, who were mercilessly flogged, tied onto an open jeep and paraded on the streets.

“It has been more than two years that our sons were flogged. The state government hasn’t given us any help so far. We haven’t got justice yet and all the accused are out on bail,” Balu Sarvaiya, the victims’ father, told TOI over the phone.

“After the incident, there was Dalit uprising. But we continued to face discrimination. Even our own community members told us not to adhere to a religion after tolerating humiliations. Even today, we shudder to see the flogging video,” Sarvaiya added.

In all, said a IE report, more than a thousand Dalits, including the family allegedly flogged by cow vigilantes in July 2016, converted to Buddhism at an event organised in Mota Samadhiyala village near Gujarat’s Una district.

Not believing in Hindu gods and goddesses was among the 22 resolutions that the converts made. The conversion will be recognised only when registered with the district collector, as per the Gujarat Freedom of Religion law.

Speaking to The Indian Express after the conversion ceremony, Balu said, “I feel relieved and empowered today. Today I junked blind faith forever. This is so liberating. After I was assaulted and humiliated, I realised that these things were burdening me. Now that I have thrown them out of the window, there will be a revolution. Now no god or goddess will prevent us from doing what we want to do. We shall study, educate ourselves and choose suitable professions.”

Ramesh told the media, “We followed Hinduism for thousands of years, but were never treated as a fellow Hindu by other faithful. We were not allowed to enter temples and were treated as untouchables. When we went to work on someone’s farm, we were asked to bring our own utensils for meals. Fed up of all these prejudices, we converted to Buddhism.”

This was the second major conversion event held in Saurashtra after one in Junagadh in late 2013.

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Gujarat Jain couple donate Rs 200 crore wealth, renounce world

The Bhandari couple was accompanied by 35 individuals in February and led a 4 km procession during which they donated all their belongings, from mobile phones to air conditioners.

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A Gujarat-based businessman and his wife have donated their lifetime earnings of Rs 200 crore and have taken the decision to renounce all materialistic desires to become Jain monks. In February this year, Bhavesh Bhandari and his wife donated all their wealth during a ceremony. The Bhandari family, which hails from Himmatnagar, has been in the construction business. The family decided to follow in the footsteps of their 16-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, who adopted monkhood in 2022.

Bhavesh Bhandari, who belongs to a Jain family, had been a part of construction business in Ahmedabad and Sabarkantha and was accustomed to a life of luxury and prosperity from a young age. The Bhandari couple was accompanied by 35 individuals in February and led a 4 km procession during which they donated all their belongings, from mobile phones to air conditioners. A short video clip from the event shows the couple wearing regal attire on top of a chariot and making donations. Adorned in rich attire and jewellery, they stood atop a truck adorned to resemble a chariot, tossing garments and banknotes to the people standing below,

After the couple made their pledge on April 22 to adopt monkhood, the couple is going to break all familial relations and renounce any material possessions and desires. Afterwards, they will begin a barefoot journey across India and will sustain themselves solely on alms.

According to reports the couple will be allowed to own two white garments, an alms bowl, and a rajoharan, a white broom used by Jain monks to clear insects from an area before sitting — a symbol of the non-violent path which they follow. In a similar incident in January, the 8-year-old daughter of a Gujarati diamond merchant renounced material comforts and worldly desires to embrace monkhood. Devanshi Sanghv had participated in a grand procession with camels, elephants, horses and great fanfare before embracing a life of monkhood.

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Lok Sabha elections 2024: BJP releases 12th list of candidates, Udayanraje Bhonsle to contest from Satara

The BJP on Tuesday released its 12th list of seven candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections

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The 12th list of seven candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, which are scheduled to start on Friday, was announced by the BJP on Tuesday. Among the seven candidates is Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale, the 13th descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who will contest from Satara, Maharashtra, and Abhijit Das Bobby, who represents Diamond Harbour in West Bengal.

The current MP for the Trinamool Congress, Abhishek Banerjee, has been paired against Abhijit Das Bobby, who contested unsuccessfully for the Diamond Harbour seat in the general elections of 2009 and 2014.

Abhishek Banerjee won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with 40.31 percent of the vote, while Abhijit Das secured 15.92 percent of the vote to finish third. Dr. Abul Hasnat of CPI(M), who received 34.66% of the vote, came in second.

With 7,91,127 votes, the leader of the Trinamool Congress party was able to hold onto the seat in 2019. Nilanjan Roy of the BJP received 4,70,533 votes, while Fuad Halim of the CPI(M) secured third place with 93,941 votes.

The 13th descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale, is another prominent figure on the list. He is contesting for the Satara Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra as a member of the BJP.

In the 2019 by-election, Bhosale—a former leader of the NCP who joined the BJP in 2022—lost the seat. There has been a back-and-forth in the seat on the Lok Sabha election candidate between the BJP and NCP.

Shashikant Shinde has received his ticket from the NCP (SP).

Shashank Mani Tripathi from Deoria and Thakur Vishwadeep Singh from Firozabad are the final candidates on the BJP’s 12th list.

In Uttar Pradesh, there are two seats.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Som Prakash’s wife Anita Som Prakash, who is a resident of Punjab, will contest for the Hoshiarpur seat in lieu of her husband.

Manjeet Singh Manna Miawind from Khadoor Sahib and Parampal Kaur Sidhu from Bathinda are the other two candidates, both of whom are from Punjab.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi says RJD is responsible for destroying Bihar, slams Lalu’s party over various corruption cases

The prime minister made a scathing attack at the opposition and said Ghamandia Gathbandhan has no vision or trust. He said when INDIA bloc alliance goes out asking for votes, then they do so on the basis of the work done by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that India and Bihar are moving forward to return to their ancient glory and added the upcoming Lok Sabha elections is an election to take a resolve for developed India and developed Bihar. PM Modi was addressing an election rally in Bihar’s Gaya, where he said that the public support that has gathered on the land of Gaya clearly shows enthusiasm of the people once again for the Modi government.

The prime minister spoke on BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and said that it is for the first time that a Sankalp Patra of any party is being called a guarantee card as in the last 10 years, people have seen Modi’s guarantee for fulfillment of a guarantee.

PM Modi said for the next five years, Modi’s guarantee card has been updated. He promised 3 crore houses will be made for the poor, the poor will get free ration for the next 5 years and those above 70 years of age will receive free treatment upto Rs 5 lakhs He said the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi yojana will be continued and all of these are Modi’s guarantees.

The prime minister made a scathing attack at the opposition and said Ghamandia Gathbandhan has no vision or trust. He said when INDIA bloc alliance goes out asking for votes, then they do so on the basis of the work done by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PM Modi said the people of Bihar know why they try and take credit for the work done by Nitish and the central government.

The prime minister said RJD is responsible for destroying Bihar and slammed Lalu’s party over various corruption cases including land for jobs scam, fodder scam. Speaking about BJP’s manifesto PM Modi said, there is a roadmap for every section and sector of the society.

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