Dalit leader Ramdas Athavale, on Monday, said he has been the original panther who has been fighting against Dalit atrocities and not one who is in the company of actresses. Reacting to Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) Sanjay Raut’s jibe that Athavale sought justice for an actress, but not for the poor girl from Hathras, the union minister said that Raut should not teach him, as he never uttered a word against the atrocities on Dalits till date. Raut never wrote in against Dalit atrocities in the editorials of Saamna.
“I have been where Dalit atrocities take place. Dalit oppression is constantly being fought. I have come from the Dalit Panther movement. Raut who has always been silent on the issue of Dalit atrocities should not teach me to fight against Dalit atrocities,” said Athavale. He added that the Republican Party of India (RPI) and he strongly condemned the Hathras gangrape and organised agitation. “I will visit Hathras on Tuesday and meet the victim’s family,” he noted.
“Has Raut and his party leaders ever protested against the atrocities against Dalits? Besides, Raut, as MP, had never raised the issue of Dalit atrocities in the parliament,” said Athavale.
Raut had targeted Athavale and commented, “Ramdas Athawale sought justice for an actress, but not for the poor girl from Hathras whose family was denied the right even to cremate her mortal remains. Where are those who were demanding for the President's rule in Maharashtra for justice to an actress?”
However, Athavale strongly defended his move to support Kangana Renaut and Payal Ghosh and took up their case with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.