Sudhir Dhawale — the Dalit activist who recently walked free after two years in prison for allegedly being a naxal supporter — is back in Mumbai, where he edits a Marathi periodical Vidrohi; he says he is even more determined, after his acquittal, to continue his fight against caste discrimination in Maharashtra. The court in Gondia which tried him observed that the revolutionary material recovered from his house in Mumbai as a follow-up to the case was ‘open source material.’ The activist, who in 2007 had launched the ‘Republican Panther Jati Antachi Chalwal’ a movement for eradication of caste in Maharashtra, is acerbic about how the government comes down on such activists and books them by stamping them as naxal supporters.
He dismisses the ‘Tanta Mukt Gaon Abhiyan’ (disputefree village project) in the state, mooted by the Congress-NCP government, as nothing short of a ‘khaap’, dominated by the upper class or NCP workers who have a nexus with local police. “This ensures that atrocities against Dalits and the oppressed don’t get reported,” he told Mirror. A critic of both the Congress-NCP and BJP governments, Dhawale feels that Dalits and the backward people would find no change emerging with the arrival of the right-wing BJP government at the Centre. “Both the Congress and the BJP have fascist agendas and are casteist. While people criticise Modi for what he did in Gujarat, what the Congress did to Sikhs during 1984 riots is no different,” Dhawale says.