Taking cue from Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS), the Dalit Sangharsha Samithi (Bheemvada) has formed Neeli Sene, a private militia, on Tuesday. Dressed in all blue, all the 36 men paraded in front of a gathering of more than 1,000 dalits from across the State at Senate Hall, Central College on the Republic Day. While the first batch is from Belgaum, the second batch will be set up in Udupi next month, followed by units being formed in other districts in the State including Bangalore.
What led the Dalit Sangharsha Samithi to form a private militia? Says R Mohanraj, the State convenor, “We have lost faith in police, which has grossly failed to protect us from atrocities. In Udupi district, we are the most vulnerable lot. We have been targeted every now and then but the accused are never caught.”
The task of Neeli Sene will be to protect the Constitutional rights of dalits and women, asserts Mohanraj. He goes on to say that the Sene will endeavour in implementing equality, encouraging education and of course, will not hesitate to use its weapon –– lathi –– to protect themselves. He said that each unit will have at least 50 members, who will be dressed in all blues- cap, shirt, pant, socks with black shoes and black belt. Along with it, the Dalit Swayam Sevaks will also sport lathis similar to the RSS cadets. The Samiti plans to recruit around 3,000 cadets this year. As for the eligibility, the cadet has to be 18 years and above, should have passed SSLC and should be aware of the Constitution of India and the government schemes.
So how will the Sene go about doing this? “The Dalit Swayam Sevaks will go to villages and organise awareness camps, where they will not only educate people on their constitutional rights but also explain about various government schemes available to them and how to avail them,” Mohanraj said. Presently a male bastion, the Sene has plans to recruit women.
“There are many problems faced by women, which doesn’t come to light. For instance, nearly 200 devdasis from Koppal were facing shelter problem. They are not getting monthly pension of Rs 400 regularly,” he said.
(Published in Deccan Herald on 26th January, 2010)