Hundreds of irate Dalits convert to Buddhism

Members of the Dalit community say their submissions fell on deaf ear even after Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar gave an assurance to consider all their demands expeditiously. PTI file photo

Over 120 Dalits living in Haryana's Jind district have embraced Buddhism expressing a lack of confidence in the incumbent Manohar Lal Khattar government in the state.

Haryana goes to Assembly elections next year. The move comes as an embarrassment for the Khattar's government, weeks after hundreds of Dalits from Gujarat's Una converted to Buddhism to protest against the discrimination and caste-triggered violence.

Scores of Dalit families in Haryana had been on a sit-in protest in the district for the last 113 days since February this year demanding, among other, a CBI probe into the murder and gang-rape of a Dalit girl in Jhansa.

Members of the Dalit community say their submissions fell on deaf ear even after the chief minister gave an assurance to consider all their demands expeditiously.

The religious conversions into Buddhism by Dalits took place according to the rituals of the Ladakh Buddhist Centre in the national capital on Sunday.

Sources said more Dalits could follow suit and embrace Buddhism to protest against being marginalised in Jatland.

The Dalits are also demanding an ordinance to include stringent provisions in the existing SC/ST Act to protect them from exploitation.

Dalit representative Dinesh Khapad, one of the many who converted to Buddhism during the ceremony, said they were being pushed to the margins, which is why they chose to embrace another religion to highlight the government's indifference towards Dalits.

The gang-rape and murder of a Dalit girl in January this year still remains a mystery.

Haryana Minister Anil Vij claimed that the government was committed to the welfare of the Dalits and that religious conversion is no solution.

The Opposition has hit out at the government for what it claims was a widespread feeling of disgust against the government among Dalits.

With Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal working towards AAP's groundswell among voters in the state ahead of polls, this could be an opportunity the party is unlikely to miss.

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Hundreds of irate Dalits convert to Buddhism

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