Remove Manu Statue From Raj HC Campus: Dalit Activists Urge Sonia
In the last 3 decades, Manu’s statue has witnessed several protests, attempts of removal and court cases.
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, over 600 Dalit activists, scholars, teachers and journalists have urged the removal of Manu's statue from the premises of the Rajasthan High Court.
“We are writing this letter because we believe that as the President of the Indian National Congress which has the Government in power in Rajasthan, you have the required power to take a step which would prove historic in the strengthening the Dalit Movement for equality.”The letter stated.
Founder of grassroot Dalit rights organisation, Navsarjan Trust, Martin Macwan drafted the letter where he wrote the statue of Manu is "an insult to Indian Constitution as well as Dalits, women and all those who believe in equality and justice."
Macwan added that the statue symbolises the historic oppression of the Dalits and women, and whose lives are still affected by the text of Manusmriti which had formalised discriminatory practices on the basis of caste for the first time.
“Moreover, the Law of Manu stands in total contradiction to what the Indian Constitution has committed itself to – while the latter upholds equality and fraternity, social justice and freedom, the former indulges in archaic teaching about inequality and social segregation, hierarchy and division, injustice and servitude. That this country has tolerated this contradiction for post-Independence 73 years is testimony to our failure to live by the invaluable heritage of the Constitution bequeathed to us by Dr Ambedkar and the Constitution-makers.”
The statue was first put up in 1989 by a lawyers' body and had got the approval of the then government in Rajasthan. In the last 31 years, the statue has witnessed several attempts of removal, protests and court hearings.
In 2018, two Dalit women from Aurangabad, also members of the Republican Party of India, travelled all the way to Jaipur to smear the Manu statue with black paint. They both have a case going on against them.
Macwan has given an ultimatum to the Congress government in Rajasthan, stating that if the statue is not removed by 15 August they will call for an agitation. He also urged the criminal case against the two Dalit women from Aurangabad to be withdrawn.
This comes in the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement where statues of several popular personalities known to promote racial injustice was removed across the world.
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