The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Protest conversions

New Delhi, Oct. 26: Dalit organisations are planning large-scale conversions in protest against the Tamil Nadu Ordinance against forcible conversions and the lynching of five Dalit youths in Jhajjar, Haryana, for skinning a cow a fortnight ago.

The Confederation of SC/ST Organisations wants to enable 5,000 Dalits, including relatives of the lynched youths, to embrace Buddhism at a function in Gurgaon tomorrow. In Tamil Nadu, organisations are planning to convert 10,000 Dalits.

Some Dalit outfits in Chennai have also threatened to sponsor a mass conversion on December 6 — the death anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Some backward caste members in Kanchipuram and Madurai districts have threatened to convert to Islam.

Chairman of the Confederation of SC/ST Organisations Udit Raj, who converted to Buddhism last year, said he will call upon Dalits to quit the “oppresive” Hindu caste system, where the life of a cow is more important than that of a Dalit.

The gathering at Gurgaon tomorrow will be addressed by film director Mahesh Bhatt, J.K. Jain of Jain TV, Maulana Asad Madani of the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, Joseph D’Souza, president of the All-India Christian Council, and Ezaz Ali of the All-India United Muslim Morcha.

Raj said Dalits will not be members of a faith which does not honour them and treats them lesser than a cow. “For these so-called Hindus, the cow is more important than humans. The position of Dalits in the Hindu social system is getting worse, so we are no longer ready to live in this cruel and unjust system,” he told a press conference.

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