It has long been established that creating fault lines within India is what the Left does, intentionally or unintentionally. This is done with exaggerated narratives and sometimes, with cooked up facts and figures that suit their narrative.
One such attempt caught my eye when a “The Wire” tweet landed on my twitter feed. This made a very tall claim that “Gujarat has only 2.33% of India’s Dalit population but ranks fourth on atrocities against the community”, with attached video where Navsarjan trust’s Founder & head Martin Macwan gave interview in support of the above statement. Since the Una Incident last year, a lot of Dalit atrocity incidents have been reported by the media and specially from Gujarat, which is poll bound.
Given The Wire’s reputation, I instinctively started digging into the credentials and track record of Martin and Navsarjan Trust.
To begin with, the statistic of Gujarat being 4th in Dalit atrocities is based on Navsarjan’s own “Survey”. However, a quick glance [pdf] at NCRB site tells you a different story. Though latest Data is of 2015, Gujarat is not among top state in volume & percentage. As figures below confirms it’s not even top 10 in Volume for case registered for crime against Schedule Castes. (Source NCRB 2015)
In light of such an atrociously questionable claim in a poll bound high stake state, it was prudent to search for motive & background of the person making such a claim and the organization behind it.
A general background probe for Navsarjan Trust tells a shocking tale. One that makes me wonder why their shoddy statistics formed the basis of an entire article to begin with.
Its FCRA license was cancelled in Dec 2016, due to adverse Intelligence input. Cancelling the FCRA license of Navsarjan Trust, the MHA in its order stated:
“Navsarjan Trust has come to adverse notice for its undesirable activities aimed to affect prejudicially harmony between religious, racial, social, linguistic, regional groups, castes or communities.”
This cancellation was protested by usual civil society members.
Employees of his trust allege that Martin Macwan used FCRA cancellation to misuse Rs 22 Crore of trust money in kitty. Even before FCRA cancellation, 7 former employees filed a police complaint, accusing the trustees of siphoning off the Rs 30 Crore that was meant for salaries of the employees in the last decade.
Financial chicanery apart, Martin Macwan helped organize protest for (now proven) staged drama of Dalit youths being beaten for sporting a moustache in Gujarat. Even last year, after the unfortunate Una incident Martin Macwan helped organize Protest across the state. The protest was planned by UDALS (led by former Aam Aadmi party member, Subodh Parmar & Jignesh Mevani). Incidentally Jignesh has ‘high regards’ for Martin Macwan.
Last year Martin Macwan, along with Congress spokesperson Tahseen Poonawala & Mohanbhai Hamir Bhai Bedva (an alleged victim of such violence) filed a reckless PIL challenging cow protection law so that alleged cow vigilante can stop. Central Government had to explain to the petitioners that “cow vigilantism was a state subject in which it did not have a role to play”.
Martin Macwan gained fame from helping the Government in abolishing manual scavenging. While this was commendable work, the Evangelical Connection of this mission also has to be scrutinised.
This year, after Yogi Adityanath became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, opposition tried multiple times to take advantage of incidents where Dalits were involved to create a narrative that Dalits are being victimized after BJP government came to power.
Two such incidents – first, the attack on Dalits in Saharanpur and second, incident where in the month of May, soap & shampoo were allegedly distributed among Musahar Dalit families of a village in Kushinagar district before Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was to visit the village.
Martin Macwan organized few Dalits to travel from Gujarat to Lucknow to handover Soap to UP CM Yogi in protest; they were detained in Mathura before they could reach Lucknow.
Also, for Saharanpur incident Martin Macwan organized various public meetings in Gujarat. At Navsarjan trust’s blog it was said that “these are being organized to “expose” the political conspiracy of silence in the wake of increasing number of caste attacks after the BJP came to power in India, and now in UP.”
At other times Martin Macwan organized protests in support of absurd #NotInMyName Campaign, where among other slogans, the famed “Le ke rahenge azadi” sloganeering was reported.
While Protest is an important measure of discontent within society, it can also be seen as a form of politics by other means. A lot of protest be it moustache issue which turned out to be staged, or Soap distribution issue in UP, which was basically done by local administration & UP CM was not even aware of it, doesn’t warrant any protests or politicization.
What we see is a repeated attempt to use any genuine or fake incident related to Dalits (in Gujarat & other BJP ruled state like UP) being used by Navsarjan & Macwan to selectively target BJP.
A person with questionable background, using genuine Dalit issues for the motive like countrywide uprising is an alarming premise. Navsarjan Trust’s undesirable activities for widening rift and promoting enmity in harmonious relationship in society was confirmed by Intelligence agencies while cancelling its FCRA License.
If we sum up these events and facts, it’s apparent that Martin Macwan and Navsarjan Trust is heavily biased against BJP and has a political agenda. It is also under suspicion for quoting wrong figures & using fake incidents to milk Dalit fault line and to instigate Dalits to vote in favor of specific party (usually Anti-BJP).
The facts here beg an important question – why was ‘The Wire’ promoting suspicious statistics propagated by a questionable trust that is creating fault lines within the country and has already been flagged by the intelligence agencies? This, as many times before, raises serious doubts on the editorial standards of ‘The Wire’ and its intentions of peddling an agenda that might not always be in the best interest of the nation, intentionally or unintentionally.