Shiv Sena MP says TV channels creating hatred by identifying ‘Dalit’ victims

Logo of political party Dalit Panthers of India

Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai today asked the government if it had taken steps against TV channels who were “creating hatred among various sections of Hindu community” by identifying victims of certain attacks as dalits.

The government responded that it had already sent directives to channels and newspapers against using the world dalit.

In a written question, Desai asked the government if it was aware that “some TV channels are using the word ‘dalit’ for victims, while reporting some incidents and some newspapers prominently identify the victim as dalit whereby suggesting that the perpetrator of crime is an upper caste person, by creating hatred among the various sections of Hindu community”.

Desai termed such reporting, which identify victims as Dalits, as “malicious” and sought information about the actions taken against media houses who engaged in such activities.

Responding to the question, minister of information and broadcasting said the government has, in a separate context, already sent directives to TV channels and newspapers not to use the word Dalit.

Dalit, which roughly translates to ‘the oppressed’ or ‘the scattered’, is used by some sections of the Indian society to describe themselves.

It is also used as an adjective to describe things like literature, poetry and so on and has become an identity for many activists working for the upliftment of downtrodden segments and other backward groups.

The term dalit literature, for example, means the literature created by people belonging to the segment of population.

It is also used for mobilization and unification of several such groups including indigenous tribes, and is closely associated with the modern Ambedkarite movement.

Rathore said the word Dalit should not be used to denote people belonging to downtrodden groups.

“.. an advisory dated 7.8.2018 was issued to private satellite TV channels to refrain from using the nomenclature “Dalit” while referring to members belonging to Scheduled Caste and the Constitutional term ‘Scheduled Caste’ in English, and its appropriate translation in other national languages should alone be used..” he said.

Rathore pointed out that the Nagpur Bench of the Mumbai High Court had issued a directive of the same import.

“In so far as Print Media is concerned, in compliance of above order, Government issued a directive on 27.07.2018 to all media to refrain from using the nomenclature “Dalit”. The Press Council of India was also requested to take necessary action in this regard,” he added.