Dalit Panther activists storm Cong office

The Times of India News Service

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Govindrao Adik finds himself in deep trouble over his reported statements made at Aurangabad about Muslims, Brahmins and Dalits. Dalit Panther activists led by noted poet Namdeo Dhasal stormed the MPCC headquarters, Tilak Bhavan, on Thursday night to protest against the offensive language reportedly used by Adik about Neo-Buddhists.

Dhasal and other activists were arrested and released on bail.

Republican Party of India (RPI) president Ramdas Athavale, who has an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar, on Friday demanded that the Congress president Sonia Gandhi must sack Mr Adik since he had offended Dalits in the state.

Mr Adik has already denied making any derogatory remarks either about Dalits or any other minority community. He has also apologised, in case, he has hurt any section of the society. He has blamed the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Samna and vested interests of distorting his speech. He said in a statement that ``communal and fascist forces have hatched a conspiracy to defame me and hurt the Congress.''

The Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Samna , on Thursday carried a report based on Mr Adik's address at a worker's rally held in Aurangabad. Mr Adik denied that he has made any statement saying communal riots take place due to Muslims and Brahmins. He said in the clarification, ``I have never said that Muslims and Brahmins create communal riots or that riots take place where ever they reside.''

``I am myself a Hindu and I have many Muslim friends. I have been participating in many religious and other functions organised by Muslim friends and institutions'', Mr Adik said.

Mr Adik said during his speech he had talked about village economy and its relevance in the changing economic scene. ``I never said anything about Dalits,'' he insisted.

Dalit leaders from the Congress who attended Aurangabad training camp issued a statement saying that Mr Adik did not say anything about the Dalits as reported by Samna. Congress MLA from city, Janardan Chandurkar, MPCC secretary Subhash Chavan, trade union leader Vijay Kamble and others signed the statement.

However, Mr Adik's adversaries appear to be determined to drag him deeper into the controversy. President of the state unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Babanrao Pachpute, addressed a press conference and warned Mr Adik that the NCP would not tolerate attacks on minorities and Dalits.

Mr Pachpute said Mr Adik should not disrupt functioning of the eight-party Democratic Front government in the state due to his personal differences with the chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

While Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh and Mr Adik are pretending to be working in harmony, insiders point out that a cold war is on between them. According to sources, the CM's camp has already informed party president Sonia Gandhi about the current controversy.

Source: http://www.timesofindia.com/100201/10mbom2.htm
Referred by:Balram Sampla
Published on: February 14, 2001
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