As many as 120 Dalits from Haryana’s Jind district have converted to Buddhism over non-fulfillment of their demands, including making SC/ST Act more stringent, by the Manohar Lal Khattar led BJP government.
Dalit leader Dinesh Khapad said the Dalits had been protesting for past nearly four months demanding CBI probe into the Jind’s Dalit girl gangrape and murder case this year and an ordinance by the state government to make the SC/ST Act more stringent, reported PTI.
“We had a meeting with chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on 7 March. He had then said that all our demands will be met within 15 days,” he said, adding their demands remained unfulfilled.
On 31 May, the 120 individuals belonging to Dalit community from Haryana’s Jind district converted to Buddhism in Delhi, Khapad said.
The protesters were also demanding employment for the kin of two martyrs killed in Jammu and Kashmir and government jobs for the family members of a man murdered in Jind.
“On 20 May, we had given one more week’s time and threatened that we will convert if demands were not met. The chief minister visited Jind on 26-27 May, but he did not meet us. It was then that we started our march on foot to Delhi, where we converted on 31 May,” he said.
“This government showed its anti-Dalit approach and we were left with no other choice,” he added.
He said if the BJP government still does not accept their demands, “thousands of others will convert to Buddhism in August.”
Haryana minister Anil Vij commented on the issue, “One must stand by his religion. If they had a problem, we could’ve looked for a solution. Some demands had been agreed to. Using conversion to make someone agree with you isn’t right.”