Delhi Cobbler Claims He Is Being Forced To Replace His Surname With A Casteist Slur
Today, India is projected as a progressing nation with plural identities and a promoter of inclusivity. But several incidents with divisive overtones are also reported across the country now and then. And one such menace that has plagued our nation for a long time is caste-based discrimination.
On these lines, a shoemaker in New Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Phase I area has claimed that he is allegedly being coerced to change the name on the board at his roadside stall.
Asked to adopt a caste name: Cobbler
Ram Avtar Verma, who hails from Rajasthan, has said that he is being harassed to shed his Verma surname and substitute it with a caste name that is often used as a slur for leather workers.
Verma, who plans to contact the police to register a case, has claimed that he has faced harassment for some months now, while the individual he accused has denied any such action and termed it a political conspiracy against him.
A hard working shoemaker Ram Avtar Verma hardly earn 400-500 rupees a day but a savarna is not able to accept that a chamar caste person is using Verma surname. Caste is like a cancer in India, a rotten society. https://t.co/vuIfc4JOEV
— Harsh (@_ambedkarite) March 4, 2023
Verma, who is in his late 40s and is a father to six children, reopened his stall near Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar after the pandemic.
He has now accused an individual who resides in the complex opposite his stall of contesting the use of a surname that is same as his.
“I had written my name and phone number on a board at my stall for better customer reach,” Verma was quoted as saying by Times Of India.
Verma possesses identity documents
The publication has revealed that Verma possesses identity documents indicating that he has always used the surname.
“The resident asked me how I was using the Verma surname and threatened to close my stall if I did not erase it from the board,” claimed the cobbler.
“I got scared and covered the surname with a piece of paper,” Verma added.
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Further, he alleges that the harassment did not stop even after that.
“When it rained and the paper I had stuck over the name peeled off, the man began threatening me again, forcing me to add the outdated caste name. I may be poor, but I cannot use that word on my board,” he said.
Subsequently, after setting aside his and his family’s fear, Verma has now decided to record his complaint with the cops. Meanwhile, the 70-year-old resident, who has been accused by Verma, has rejected the allegations.
I have never met the shoemaker: Accused
“I have never met the shoemaker or even talked to him. A political lobby has a vested interest in targeting me after our residents’ welfare association filed a PIL to remove food sellers operating close to the school,” he told TOI in response to Verma’s claims.
According to National Crime Records Bureau data, atrocities against SC and ST communities have increased.
In 2021, the year for which the last NCRB data is available, five ST/SC-related cases were reported in the city, while in 2020 and 2019, only one case each had been registered.
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