Dalits in Tihar Jail sit on strike over Valmiki Jayanti

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and scores of Dalit men lodged in the Tihar Jail on Sunday sat on a hunger strike protesting against the jail authorities who allegedly denied them permission to observe Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti.

However, the Tihar jail authorities denied the allegations and said they were granted permission to observe Valmiki Jayanti. They also performed 'hawan' and distributed sweets.

The Dalit group threatened to gherao Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence on Monday on the issue.

Bhim Army spokesperson Kush Ambedkarwadi said scores of Dalit inmates in the Tihar Jail had on Saturday demanded the jail authorities to provide them a poster of Maharishi Valmiki to offer tributes on the occasion.

"The jail authorities didn't give us a poster. Hundreds of Dalit men lodged along with Chandrashekhar Azad have proceeded on a hunger strike against this," he said.

"It's a violation of our fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution. What's more disappointing is that Delhi Jail Minister Satyendar Jain and Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, who has been vocal on Dalit issues, has been keeping mum," Kush claimed.

A tweet from Chandrashekhar Azad's Twitter handle read "the Bhim Army will gherao the resident of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal if he failed to make arrangements to observe Valmiki Jayanti in the Tihar Jail".

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