NDF support to Radical Dalit outfit

published on September 29, 2009

  Kerala Govt mulls banning radical Dalit outfit

VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram

The Kerala Government is likely to ban the radical Dalit outfit, Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM), which is said to be behind the murder of a morning jogger at Varkala Thiruvananthapuram on September 23. At the same time, it is also planning to revamp the Special Branch of the Kerala Police which has proved to be a total failure in gathering Intelligence over the outfit which has already spread roots in all vulnerable areas in the State.

In the context of the murder of Sivaparasad (62), a person with no connections with Dalits or politics, the Government thinks that the activities of DHRM with its extremist postures can sow anarchy and violence in the Kerala society. The accepted policy of the CPI(M)-led ruling LDF is to confront outfits politically and not to ban them in normal situations, but sources say that the case of the DHRM is exceptional.

Though Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose sounded mild when he said in Kochi on Monday that the police were examining whether the DHRM was an extremist organization, serious discussion were going on in the Home Department, sources said. They also said that the Home officials were in touch with their counterparts in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Welfare Department on the matter.

Top police officials said that they had obtained certain crucial documents, including the by-law of the DHRM< during an inspection at the residence of its president Selvaraj in North Paravur, Ernakulam district on the night of Saturday last. They also said that the clauses being described in it did not give much value to scruples in political activity.

The organization, founded some three years ago and in active operation for the past 15 months based in the colonies of poor Dalits, mainly in the southern Kerala districts, is said to have a membership strength of more than 150,000. Top officials expressed surprise at the rapid growth of the outfit and they suspected that the DHRM had been getting generous assistance from within and outside the State.

Sources said that a consensus had almost evolved among the officials about imposing a ban on the outfit but what was most important in the matter was a political decision. The CPI(M), lead party of the Government and the party that ruled the Home Ministry, would immediately consider the pros and cons of such a ban.

“The Government will have to tread cautiously as a ban may further alienate the Dalits from the mainstream political parties. It understands that there is widespread disappointment among the Dalits in the State over the neglect shown to them till now by the successive governments. However, the option of banning the DHRM is difficult to reject for the CPI(M),” said a Home Department official.

Police officials are of the opinion that the DHRM, which claims to be founded on the principles of BR Ambedkar, is getting support from certain Naxalite groups which are still refusing to adopt the path of peace and also certain socio-political outfits that combine the Dalit cause with minority issues.

The Popular Front of India, formerly NDF, an Islamist resistance organization, is one such outfit, officials say. They are also of the opinion that the DHRM has several similarities, at least in appearance, to the Islamic Sevak Sangh (ISS), the ancestor outfit of Abdul Nasser Madani’s PDP. They point out that the dress code of the DHRM activists – black T-shirts and jeans – had striking similarity to the uniform worn by Madani’s former volunteer guards.

DGP Jacob Punnoose, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in KOchi, said, that the police had to look into whether the DHRM had any terror links. “At present, I cannot say whether the organization has any terror links as this aspect was being looked into by the police.

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