| Pune |
Published: October 16, 2018 8:15:25 am
Bhim Army workers have opposed the tradition of burning the effigy of Ravan on Dussehra claiming that Ravan is a symbol of humanitarian culture and an idol for many Adivasi and Bahujan (tribal and backward) communities. The outfit has written to government offices and police officials in various districts across the state demanding action against programmes held for burning the effigy of Ravan.
On Monday, the Pune unit of Bhim Army submitted a letter to the Pune City Police, Special Branch, stating that burning Ravan’s effigy hurts the sentiments of those from Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes (SC and ST). The outfit asked the police to refuse permission for “Ravan Dahan” (burning of Ravan’s effigy) programmes. Bhim Army has also demanded that if anyone conducts Ravan Dahan programme, offence should be lodged against the organisers under The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The outfit has said if this does not happen, the members will come out on the streets to oppose Ravan Dahan and the police administration would be responsible for any law and order situation. Bhim Army district president Datta Pol, women wing president Neeta Adsule and others claim that Ravan symbolises a glorious culture and he was a king who believed in equality and justice. “But the history was distorted and Ravan was presented as a villain for thousands of years,” the letter said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch) Ashok Morale, when contacted, said he was out of Pune and was yet to read the letter. “I will go through the letter and then decide on the action to be taken,” he said. Meanwhile, tribal outfits in other parts of the state have also opposed Ravan Dahan programmes. An outfit, Adivasi Asmita from Palghar district, has written to the local police demanding that it be banned.
In July 2017, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition filed by activist Anand Prakash Sharma, saying it cannot pass direction to stop burning of Ravan effigies on Dussehra. The petition said burning of Ravan’s effigy is hazardous to environment and hurts the sentiments of some sections.
The banned Communist Party of India – Maoist has put up posters in parts of Gadchiroli district opposing burning of Ravan effigies.
Korchi Area Committee of the CPI-Maoist put up the posters in Gadchiroli on Sunday stating: “Rakshas ke naam par Raavan ko jalaana bandh karo (stop burning Ravan in the name of demon)”.
It urged tribals and other communities to come together and agitate against the “Bramhanical Hindutva Fascist” BJP government in the Centre and the state. Gadchiroli Police has initiated a probe.
Police sources said there are some tribal groups that worship Ravan and the Maoists have put up the posters to provoke the tribal communities and pretend that they (Maoists) are supporters of tribal culture.