Mumbai : “Dalits and workers cannot be separated because 90 per cent of workers are Dalits. It is high time that we should be given an equal status in society and treated with dignity irrespective of the kind of work we do,” claimed leader of the All India Student Federation (AISF) Kanhaiya Kumar at the protest rally of workers of Solid Waste Management (SWM) of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) at Azad Maidan on Friday.
Kanhaiya led the protest by saying that a Dalit has no freedom in India as a Dalit cannot fall in love with a Brahmin, a Dalit
engineer will not get a higher post and Dalit workers are not able to claim their rights. He further added,
“Everything is controlled by the elite caste groups and we Dalits have been continuing to do the dirty work of cleaning gutters, sweeping roads and clearing garbage for years. Now when we raise our demands for minimum wages, we are denied of our rights.”
When Kanhaiya was questioned about including caste in politics after the Supreme Court order, he said, “I do not have any political agenda but any kind of election invariably affects the people belonging to the lower castes.
As Dalits we consider politics as a powerful medium to raise our demands as we are termed as leftovers of the society with no power.”
For the upcoming civic polls, two members of the workers union will be contesting elections.
The political agenda for these elections is the fulfilment of the demands of the workers. Kanhaiya added, “As a student I support this rally because students ultimately become workers.
No Dalit needs to go down in any manhole; the government should come up with a technology for this work.”