Hundreds of Dalit men in Gujarat are protesting against attacks on Dalits in a unique way: By changing their WhatsApp display photos to the picture of a big moustache with ‘Mr Dalit’ written below it, according to NDTVreport.
The report adds that the Dalit youths have started a social media campaign by posting pictures on Twitter that show them twirling their moustaches.
What has sparked off the protest?
On 1 October it was reported that two Dalit men from a village near Gandhinagar in Gujarat were allegedly thrashed by members of Rajput community for “sporting a moustache” in two separate incidents.
In the 29 September incident, Krunal Maheria, 30, a law student, was allegedly beaten up by one Bharatsinh Vaghela.
In his complaint to the Kalol taluka police, Maheria had claimed that Vaghela assaulted him for sporting a moustache.
“When I was visiting my friend on Friday night, Vaghela and some others intercepted me and verbally abused me. Vaghela told me that I cannot become a Rajput by just sporting a moustache. When I ignored him, Vaghela beat me up with a stick,” Maheria said on 1 October.
A similar case was reported in Limbodara village on 25 September, when some members of Rajput community allegedly thrashed Piyush Parmar (24).
“Parmar had alleged that some Rajput men from the village beat him up when he was returning home after a garba programme. He had alleged that upper caste men thrashed him over his moustache,” a police official had said.
What is Mr Dalit protest?
According to Hindustan Times report, Dalits youths are using hashtags such as #RightToMoustache and are coming out in support of Piyush Parmar.
Over 300 Dalit men from villages around Sanand city in Gujarat started putting up WhatsApp display pictures featuring a logo of a twirled moustache with a crown and Mr Dalit written below it, says The Indian Express report.
“It is our way of telling people that Dalits will sport a moustache and twirl it like a king without a care in the world. We are sure that more people will join us and change their Facebook and WhatsApp display pictures in the coming days,” The Indian Express quoted one Anirudh Solanki as saying.
One Gautam Makwana told News18 that over 1000 people from the Dalit community posted pictures of themselves with moustaches on Facebook in the past three days.
With inputs from PTI