CHENNAI: The People’s Platform for Dalit Assertion (PPDA) of Tamil Nadu protested at Chepauk on Sunday in support of the Dalit Asmita Yatra in Gujarat.
The PPDA, Chennai demanded justice for Una victims and punishment those who turned violent in the name of Gau Rakshaks (cow protectors), as children played the parai, a percussion instrument usually played by Dalits. The proesters chanted ‘You can hang on to the cow’s tail but give us back our land’.
Nearly 70 participants including students, children, dalit activists and others raised slogans against Hindu fascism and the Gujarat model that they believed only meant killing muslims and whipping dalits.
“We are not only extending solidarity to the yatra in the State (Gujarat) that is the Sangh Parivar’s stronghold, we also condemn the Dravida parivars’ indifference to the plight of Salits in Tamil Nadu,” said C Lakshmanan, organizing committee member , PPDA, Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Dalit poet Sukirtharani read out verses of her poetry as part of the demonstration and Buddhar Kalaikuzhu, a folk music and dance troupe, performed with the parai, taking an oath that this parai was not for death but for life and revolution.
The PPDA also demanded land allotted to dalits and district-level fast track courts to handle atrocity cases. The Dalit Asmita Yatra that was organized by the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti (Una Dalit Committee to Fight Atrocity) began in Ahmedabad on August 5 and is scheduled to reach Una on Independence Day after covering 400 kms.
The yatra was carried out seven Dalits were flogged in Una for ‘skinning a dead cow’.