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Ravidas Temple Demolition: Activists Plan Protest March on Sept 21 to Demand Release of Arrested Protesters

Ravidas Temple Demolition: Activists Plan Protest March on Sept 21 to Demand Release of Arrested Protesters

Organisers say thousands will take part in the protest march from Jantar Mantar to Tughlakabad on September 21.

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New Delhi: Thousands of people are likely to carry out a protest march in the national capital on September 21, exactly a month after demonstrations were staged against the demolition of the Sant Ravidas Temple.

Called 'Sakaratmak Hastakshep', the protest march will begin from Jantar Mantar and proceed towards Tughlakabad where the Ravidas Temple was demolished.

The organisers say they are slowly turning their August 21 protest into a more comprehensive movement. "It started as an ad hoc movement in the form of various Dalit bodies coming together to stage demonstration against the demolition of the 500-year-old Ravidas Temple. Since police arrested nearly 100 people, we have become more organised to channel our efforts toward seeking the release of our young boys as well as seeking the restoration of our ancient temple," Ashok Bharti, an activist, said.

Bharti told News18 that the ad hoc group has become more “institutionalised” and even has legal and mobilisation cells now.

"We understand that it is not a two-day or two-month fight. This fight, on both issues, looks to us like a long-drawn battle. We are prepared to dig in our heels and fight it till the end," he added.

To this end, he said, thousands of people have been called to the national capital to press for the release of the community members who were arrested after the August 21 protests and to seek dropping of charges against them.

"There has been a lot of movement on the sidelines. It will become a big issue in the days to come. We now have 14 central organising committees that are in constant touch with each other and with community leaders across the country. Ravidas deras and spiritual gurus have promised support to us in Punjab and Haryana, and in coming days, many more deras are likely to join us in this struggle," Bharti added.

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