Athawale to move SC against ban on ‘Dalit’ word usage

New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday said the Republican Party of India (RPI) would move the Supreme Court to challenge the Ministry of Information and Broadcast directive advising the media to refrain from using the word ‘Dalit’.

Addressing the media here, the RPI chief said, “On behalf of the Republican Party, we will go to the Supreme Court and challenge the Bombay High Court’s decision to ban the usage of the word ‘Dalit’ because it isn’t offensive. It is wrong to ban its usage.”

“We respect the court, even our ministry had issued a directive to use the word ‘Scheduled Caste’ instead of ‘Dalit’ in official documents, but it is not right to stop the media from using the word,” Athawale added.

He further stated that the ‘Dalit’ community had objections with the word ‘Harijan’, which was coined by Mahatma Gandhi, but the word was not banned.

“The Dalit community were treated unfairly and called Harijans at the same time. Mahatma Gandhiji’s intentions were noble but the Dalit community had issues with being called that word. There shouldn’t be any problems with the word ‘Dalit’ as well. We’ll go to the Supreme Court and challenge the ban,” Athawale said.

The I&B ministry recently issued the advisory to the media advising them to stop using the term ‘Dalit’ when referring to members of the Scheduled Castes. The Bombay high court, in June, asked the ministry to consider issuing the directive to the media.