A Save Constitution-Democracy-Reservation conference was organized in Patna on 9 December 2018 under the banner of the SC/ST Workers Association, attended by thousands of dalit and backward caste workers from across Bihar.
Addressing the conference, JNUSU President N Sai Balaji said that the Modi government brands youth demanding employment ‘anti-national’, while those who openly burn the Constitution are being encouraged. Those who raise their voices for the poor are jailed as anti-national and ‘Urban Naxal’. The government claims to work for the interest of dalits, but at the same time is attempting to end reservations and change the Constitution. Rohit Vemulas are being institutionally murdered, seats and scholarships are being cut, and fees are being hiked beyond the reach of the poor.
Renowned journalist Urmilesh cautioned that reservation and democracy will survive only if the Constitution survives. He said that an accountable coalition government is preferable to a pro-corporate dictatorial government. He said that after independence the country had differing thought streams but all of them wanted to take the country forward. Only the RSS wanted to take the country backwards, and this is what they are trying to do now, by imposing Manusmriti in place of the Constitution.
Justice Karan said that it was because of Ambedkar that he was able to study and become a judge. But he pointed out that caste oppression is prevalent even in the judiciary. He said that if we unite and fight, nobody can deprive us of our constitutional rights. Om Prakash Manjhi said that caste atrocities in Bihar have gone up once again. Oppression of dalits and the poor has increased on the other hand; on the other, they are being deprived of their inherited and constitutional rights.
A 7-point resolution was passed in the conference: withdraw all false cases slapped after the 2 April historic strike; support to the countrywide movement against the attempt to snatch away the constitutional right of reservations in jobs and promotions; withdraw scholarship cuts for dalit and deprived students; salary based on minimum wage for contract-honorarium workers and their regularization; no eviction of poor without appropriate rehabilitation first; land and housing for all; stop eviction of adivasis from land, forest and water; white paper on brahminical-feudal forces capturing land in the name of temples and mutts; stop incidents of atrocities on dalits; control crime and release and rehabilitate the poor arrested and jailed in the name of liquor ban; white paper by State government on the current situation of reservation in all educational institutions, universities and departments in Bihar; ensure participation of dalits in high government posts.