|New Delhi, Nov. 12: Students and Dalit activists joined hands today to call a “satyagraha” tomorrow to press for a Supreme Court probe into the purported encounter in Bhopal that left eight Simi under-trials dead in a pre-dawn police operation last week.
The activists said the probe should also cover the death of a policeman, Rama Shankar Yadav, whom the operatives of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India are alleged to have murdered while breaking out from the high-security Central Jail in the Madhya Pradesh capital.
The students and the Dalit activists have called a protest meeting at Jantar Mantar tomorrow to insist on the truth ( satyagraha).
Ameeque Jamei, general secretary of the Delhi Pradesh Tanzeem-e-Insaaf, an activist group, told a media conference the October 31 killing of the eight under-trials and the head constable could not be seen separately, as they were part of a larger design to divide society along communal lines.
” Pehle Ram ko maara, phir Rahim ko maara (first they killed a Ram, then they killed a Rahim),” said Jignesh Mevani, the 35-year-old poster boy of Dalit mobilisation in Gujarat.
Mevani had mobilised the community in protests after some Dalit youths were flogged in Una, Gujarat, in July this year for suspected cow slaughter. The youths, who skinned dead animals for a living, were assaulted with rods, chained to a car and dragged to a police station by a so-called cow-protection group.
Jamei, Mevani and JNU Students Union president Mohit Pandey spoke in one voice, saying the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government had stage-managed the Bhopal encounter in a repeat of the Gujarat model.
“Now Shivraj Singh wants to show he is as muscular as (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi in the hope that a macho image will put him in the run for premiership the next time round,” Mevani said.
They alleged that Gujarat, under then chief minister Modi, had shown the way for such encounters, possibly alluding to the encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and college girl Ishrat Jahan.
Now the Madhya Pradesh government, they said, was doing the same thing to divert attention from bread-and-butter issues.
“An atmosphere is being created to promote hatred between communities,” Mevani said, with Jamei adding that the real opposition to such attacks on minorities, in particular, and the Constitution, in general, was coming from the student community.
In September, Dalit organisations and Muslim groups had come together in the capital in a show of solidarity against incidents of violence targeting marginalised communities.