On 10 May, CPI(ML) held protests in Lucknow, Allahabad, Ghazipur, Mau and Jalaun against the murder of Sachin Walia, brother of Bhim Army District President of Saharanpur. Walia was shot dead on 9 May, in the presence of police, by feudal Thakurs during their Maharana Pratap Jayanti celebrations.

Last year, it was on the same occation – Maharana Pratap Jayanti – that Dalits were attacked and killed, their homes burnt, by Thakurs in Shabbirpur. Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad Raavan and other Dalit activists were jailed under the draconian NSA ever since, for protesting against the Shabbirpur attack. Clearly, ‘Maharana Pratap Jayanti’ under Yogi and Modi rule, is a code for well-planned attacks on Dalits, by feudal forces emboldened by the blessings of the Governments. If not, why, in spite of objections, apprehensions and appeals expressed by the Bhim Army, were Thakurs allowed to hold an armed procession in Rampur village of Saharanpur which has a considerable Dalit population? It is on this occasion that Sachin Walia was killed – the Administration is trying to cover up the murder by calling it an ‘accident’.

At Lucknow the protest was held at the Ambedkar statue at Hazratganj – where the protesters demanded that Sachin’s killers be charged with murder, the police and administrative personnel responsible be punished, compensation for Sachin’s family, release of Chandrashekhar, and the passing of an ordinance rolling back of the dilution of the SC/ST Act.

At Mau, the demonstrators protested at the District Headquarters; at Ghazipur, they sent a memorandum to the President of India. At Allahabad, AISA activists burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister.

On 16 May, a CPI(ML) team is visiting Saharanpur to meet the family of Sachin Walia. The team comprises AISA State President Sunil Maurya, youth activist and intellectual Ramnaresh Ram, as well as CPI(ML) Central Committee member Ishwari Prasad Kushwaha.