A Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) office-bearer Ghanshyam rained baton rods on dalit workers on 14 January 2009. Ghanshaym is the husband of Urmila Devi, who is the Gram Pradhan of Gram Panchayat Aira Kake Mau, Block Bharawan, District Hardoi, UP. Ghanshyam is also the BSP Treasurer from the Vidhan Sabha constituency of Minister for Science and Technology in UP Government, Abdul Mannan.
The main grievances of these dalit workers was that they had been paid less than what was due to them under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and their Job Cards were either not given to them or contained arbitrary entries. The dalit workers had come to inspect the NREGS documents in accordance with the right of social audit given under the NREG Act, when they were beaten mercilessly by BSP office-bearer Ghanshyam.
The BSP cabinet minister Abdul Mannan is scheduled to visit the same Gram Panchayat of Aira Kake Mau in Bharawan block (Hardoi district, UP) on Saturday, 31 January 2009. "If a senior BSP cabinet minister Abdul Mannan will support a person like Ghanshyam who has mercilessly beaten up the dalit workers, then activists will believe that BSP is supporting and protecting the human rights abusers of dalit workers" said Neelkamal, who is the people's nominee for the 2009 elections from this region.
The people of this region have strongly condemned the increasing criminalization and corruption in politics. Hundreds of them descended in the state capital of Lucknow to stage a massive demonstration to press their demand that Abdul Mannan should not shield those who beat dalit people.
Ironically BSP has been claiming to be championing the cause of dalits. This is a blatant example where a BSP office bearer had been exploiting dalit workers, denying them their due and manhandling them in broad daylight as well. Instead of supporting the cause of dalit welfare and advocating for strict action against Ghanshyam, BSP's cabinet minister Abdul Mannan is likely to support Ghanshyam by going to the same gram panchayat and participating in his programmes. "Is this the manner in which BSP is going to protect dalit people?" asks Neelkamal.
The activists of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and Asha Parivar are resolute to challenge this rampant corruption and criminalization of politics from now on.
"In her past stints as Chief Minister, Mayawati has given little attention to the well being of dalits. Dalits found it as tough to get cases registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as ever and state SC/ST Commission provided no relief either. Matters related to violence against women also suffered a casualty in her regime. Neither did the situation of landless dalits, hoping to take possession of their legitimate pieces of land allotted to them by the panchayats, improved. All the other benefits through the panchayats continued to be siphoned-off by the unscrupulous elements. There was no clamp on corruption in the various schemes which could have possibly resulted in more benefits flowing to the dalits. With the possible exception of Ambedkar villages there was no overall improvement in delivery efficiency of the administrative system or justice to the poor" had said Dr Sandeep Pandey, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee (2002) in an article published years ago. The situation hasn't changed much since then, as BSP Supremo Mayawati's regime continues.