It is silly that the police authorities did not consider all the discrepancies in their theories before linking Dalits to Maoists
It beggars belief that the Maharashtra police, which has not been able to crack the killings of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare five and four years after their respective murders by some motorcycle riders, should now be able to uncover a plot by some Dalit activists to assassinate Narendra Modi in a ‘Rajiv Gandhi type of killing’. It pushes the seams of credibility that that plot was outlined in a letter to each other, left conveniently lying around for the police to discover in searches at their homes so that they may implicate themselves in a crime of such dastardly proportions.
Firstly, when Maoists wiped out the entire Congress leadership in Chhattisgarh exactly five years ago, no intelligence agency had any clue. Secondly, Maoists ambush with mines, they rarely indulge in suicide bombings. And then there is the fact that Maharashtra DGP, Satish Mathur, has denied that the police has leaked or made any letter viral on social media and yet it is being widely circulated on all platforms. If that letter is genuine, there has been a clear security breach within the state police that it should be on social media before they have put it in the public domain.
But what is a dead giveaway about the alleged lack of its authenticity is that the Dalit activists greet each other with ‘Red Salute’. Even the Maharashtra police would know that the preferred greeting of Dalits is ‘Jai Bhim’. Even if they are left-leaning, their Ambedkarite proclivities are far stronger than any commitment to leftism. And committed left workers never would say ‘Red Salute’. Lal Salaam is what they say and understand. Red Salute seems like the imagination of a mechanical translator who has no clue about the Indian and left ethos in the country – like the time I had to edit a vacuous translator’s gems like Indian People’s Party for the Bharatiya Janata Party or, even better, when a particular person was described as Development God Priest. That needed some head-scratching before I realised the name was simply Vikas Deopujari. Obviously, the translator was using Google rather than his own intelligence and I think that is what has happened with this letter, too. Even so, if the letter was written in Marathi or Hindi and translated with the Google tool, Dalit and left activities would know to change back Red Salute to Lal Salaam. So now, I am very suspicious about the origins of the letters and the conspiracy hatched.
But why I am not surprised at the conspiracy is because I have known for years that at least in Vidarbha, which is thick with both Ambedkarites and Naxalites, the police have been attempting to link Dalit activists to Maoists in Gadchiroli for years. And yet, never have they been able to uncover any Maoist plots to kill even their own police officers before they have been mine-trapped in the jungles and blown to bits. In the few successes they have had in trapping Maoists, none have been established as Dalit activists. Moreover, among those arrested is an activist who has been contesting zilla parishad and panchayat samiti elections in Gadchiroli, which the Maoists do not believe in. They have also been winning those elections in the face of threats by Maoists for participating in the democratic process goes against their grain. Dalits, however, are fiercely committed to the democratic process; it is part of their DNA simply because of Dr BR Ambedkar’s association with the Constitution of India.
So it is silly that the police authorities did not consider all the discrepancies in their theories before linking Dalits to Maoists. Dalit activists are naturally left-leaning because of the nature of their struggle against right-wing bigotry and upper caste discrimination over the centuries. But to attribute sinister motives to them just because they were sympathetic to the Bhima-Koregaon movement, I believe, is going too far, at a time when the Pune police have access to video footage of those riots and know very well who the provocateurs were but are unable to take action because those perpetrators are covered by political patronage.
There are too many holes in the police theory for anyone to believe the linkage between Dalit activists and Maoists. And while the letter conspiracy case by the police is already falling apart and may not stand up in court, the political fallout of selectively framing Dalit activists could be very, very huge indeed.