In a joint statement, 35 Buddhist group from across the globe condemned the campaign of calumny carried out by the mainstream media in India.
NRI Ambedkarites from abroad conveyed condemned the manner in which Rajendra Pal Gautam was made to resign from as Delhi’s social welfare minister. Expressing their solidarity with the beleaguered leader, the Ambedkarites from USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Nederland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Belgium, Hungary, Australia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Malaysia, in a joint press release, called it a vendetta.
Rajendra Pal Gautam came into the crosshair of Hindutva lobby ever since he attended the Ashoka Vijaya Dashami celebrations on October 5 at Ambedkar Bhawan in Jhandewalan in Delhi where over 10,000 people from various religions embraced Buddhism. He was made to pay the price for his presence at the conversion event.
Condemning the vilification of Gautam by the mainstream Indian media, the release said he is subjected to an unwarranted campaign of calumny on the pretext of the 22-point oath the people had taken on the occasion as part of the conversion ritual prevalent since the time of Babasahab Bhemrao Ambedkar, and not a new invention as is being made out.
The gathering, an annual feature every October, was a peaceful event organised by local social groups, the Buddhist Society of India and Mission Jai Bheem. Dozens of such events take place every year all over the country where thousands of people convert to Buddhism. The event in Delhi was no different.
These events are held to commemorate the 1956 mass conversion to Buddhism in Nagpur on October 14, 1956 known as Ashok Vijaya Dashmi where lakhs of people embraced Buddhism by taking the famous 22 vows on a call given by Dr. BR Ambedkar. The 22 vows recited peacefully at the event in Delhi where Gautam was present is a commemoration of the historic event. It didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s religious sentiments.
Reciting the 22 vows is a common practice in all Buddhist conversion ceremonies. These vows are nothing but a guide to an individual to stay away from superstition, not to believe in caste system and treat everyone with dignity and respect. There is nothing disrespectful to any community in the 22 vows. We condemn the attempts made by mainstream media to give negative twist to the 22 vows.
Expressing their anguish over the developments back home, the NRI Ambedkarites, said, “We express our solidarity with Gautam in this testing time and hope that the government will fulfill its constitutional obligation and prevent attempts by the media and anti-social elements to divide the society.
Following is the list of the organisations that signed the statement:
- Buddhist Council of America (BCA)
- Dhamma Waves,Canada
- Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA)
- Ambedkar Buddhist association of Texas (ABAT)
- Ambedkar International Mission, USA (AIM)
- Dr. B. R. Ambedkar International Mission Center, Houston Texas
- Ambedkar International Mission, Japan (AIM)
- Ambedkar International Mission, UAE (AIM)
- Ambedkar International Center (AIC)
- Boston Study Group (BSG)
- Coalition of Seattle Indian American’s (CSIA)
- Dr Ambedkar Buddhist Society ,New York
- International Bahujan Organization, New York
- International Boddhisatva Guru Ravidas Organization, New York
- Ambedkar Mission, Toronto, Canada
- Ambedkarites International Mission Society-Canada (AIMS)
- Ambedkar King Study Circle, USA (AKSC)
- Periyar International USA
- Samata Sainik Dal HQ Deekshabhumi Nagpur (SSD)
- South Asian Dalit Adivasi Network Canada (SADAN)Dr Ambedkar Buddhist organisation Birmingham UK
- Dr Ambedkar Mission Society Glasgow Scotland
- Dr Ambedkar Mission Society Europe
- Indian Association of Minorities New Zealand.(IAM)
- Mulnivasi Nayak
- International SSD, California,USA
- Bhim Patrika Media
- Ambedkar Nama
- Dalit Dastak
- Ambedkar Times (CA) USA
- Blue Morning Weekly
- Lokmanya Samiti, Maharashtra, India
- Ambedkar Chetna Parishad, Jharkhand
- Bodhimaggo Mahavihara
- Human Metta Foundation
- Human Metta Foundation
Photo: AAP leader and former social welfare minister in Delhi