Dalit groups oppose BJP’s move to induct and field MLA Girraj Singh Malinga

Dalit groups oppose BJP’s move to induct and field MLA Girraj Singh Malinga

Dalit groups in Rajasthan have opposed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to induct Congress MLA from Dholpur district’s Bari, Girraj Singh Malinga, into the party and field him from the same seat for the Assembly election. The three-time MLA, denied a ticket by Congress, faces charges of assaulting a Dalit engineer of Energy Department more than a year ago.

Mr. Malinga left Congress and joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Sunday. He was fielded as the party’s candidate from Bari in the final list released late on Sunday night after the Congress dropped him and named Prashant Singh Parmar as its nominee.

Mr. Malinga was booked in a case of alleged assault of two engineers, one of whom was a Dalit, after they went to a Rajput-dominated village in his constituency to enquire about non-payment of electricity bills by a large number of people. The MLA allegedly stormed into their office with his associates on March 28, 2022, and assaulted them with casteist slurs.

The victim, Harshadhipati Valmiki, sustained multiple fracture injuries, including a broken femur, in the attack. He is still undergoing treatment at Sawai Man Singh Government Hospital in Jaipur.

The case was registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, after which the police arrested several of the accused persons. Mr. Malinga surrendered on May 11, 2022, and was sent by a court in Dholpur to judicial custody. After he tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to a hospital, the Rajasthan High Court granted him bail, while the charge-sheet is yet to be filed in the court.

Dalit organisations said here that the BJP, by bringing Mr. Malinga into its fold and making him its candidate, had proved that it was anti-Dalit and its slogans against Dalit atrocities were an “election gimmick”. The groups had earlier launched a campaign against Mr. Malinga and urged Congress not to give him a ticket for the polls.

Dalit activist and author Bhanwar Meghwanshi said the BJP had revealed its hatred against Dalits and presented a proof of being anti-Dalit by fielding Mr. Malinga from Bari. “This is an open challenge to Dalits,” he said, adding that Mr. Valmiki was still in the hospital.

Anusuchit Jati Adhikar Abhiyan’s convener Satyaveer Singh said the Congress, by denying ticket to the sitting MLA, had sent across a strong message the party had no place for those indulging in atrocity against Dalits. The BJP, on other hand, had added salt to injury by its action, he said.

A statement issued by the Abhiyan pointed out that a study of the increasing Dalit atrocities in the State would reveal that the supporters of the ideology of BJP and RSS were playing a leading role in the crimes against Dalits. The BJP had no moral right to pretend to be a Dalit-friendly party, it said.

Another activist, Bhagwan Sahay Sulla, said the BJP had given ticket to Mr. Malinga by ignoring the sentiments of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. He appealed to all Dalits in the State to boycott Mr. Malinga.

Mr. Malinga told presspersons after joining the BJP that he was being harassed by the Congress and he had not received any support from the party or the government in the “false and politically motivated” case registered against him. He also said that he had joined the BJP after observing the policies and programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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