Will move SC against govt's 'Dalit' advisory: Athawale

Will move SC against govt's 'Dalit' advisory: Athawale

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday raised a banner of revolt against the Modi government advisory on the use of word 'Dalit' in media reports saying his party the RPI(A) would move Supreme Court in the matter.

Last month, the I&B Ministry had issued an advisory, citing the order of the Bombay High Court, and asked media houses to refrain from usage of nomenclature 'Dalit' while referring to the members of the Scheduled Caste.

“I am not in agreement with the decision of the central government to ask the media to refrain from using the word 'Dalit' in their reportage,” Athawale, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, told reporters here.

Athawale said his political party – the Republican Party of India (A) – would move the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order.

The word 'Dalit' does not have a negative connotation, but it inspires the oppressed and the deprived classes to fight for their rights.

BJP Lok Sabha member Udit Raj said the I&B Ministry advisory would not change the “social position” of Dalits.

“This word has been in our life, our literature, and our writings globally,” said Raj, who also heads the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations.

“The term 'Dalit' is widely used and accepted. An advisory is fine but it should not be made compulsory,” Raj said.

Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit activist and Independent MLA of the Gujarat Assembly, said the word 'Dalit' carried a certain weight as it gave the community its political identity acquired through decades of struggle.