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Method of recruitment
Bhim Army , the Dalit organisation founded by Saharanpur native Chandrashekhar Azad, has been garnering more and more support from people across UP and beyond. With nobody emerging in person to mobilise crowds in rural areas, it is being done by groups working online. Dalit analysts believe that Bhim Army -which started as a small WhatsApp group of proDalit thinkers -has grown every day purely based on their efforts online.
“Even Chandrashekhar Azad, barring the manner in which he turned up and spoke at Jantar Mantar, has been largely quiet, and the only way Dalits are being mobilised is through social media. They have numerous Facebook and Twitter handles and WhatsApp groups to inform people about developments in their movement. Azad believes that he is being cheated by the mainstream media,“ said Satish Prakash, a Meerut-based Dalit intellectual.
On Sunday , when thousands of Dalits gathered at Jantar Mantar, there were not only Facebook lives from the spot by Bhim Army supporters but WhatsApp messages too, thanking people for the support.Bhim Army supporters said cops were wary of their social media campaign and even tried to counter it.
According to them, a day before the protest, police allegedly circulated messages that the event had been cancelled due to denial of permission by Delhi Police. “We had to quickly launch a countercampaign to call their bluff,“ said an activist linked to the online operations.
Role in politics
THE DALIT WITH SWAGGER
Dalit politics is abuzz with talk of the Bhim Army and its charismatic founder Chandrashekhar Azad, a 30-year-old advocate. “Much to the discomfort of upper castes, he has appropriated their symbols of swagger in rural UP: the twirled moustache and the Bullet motorcycle,“ says political commentator Chandra Bhan Prasad. He has grabbed headlines with the slogan “Hum is desh ke shasak hain (we are the rulers of this nation),“ and his in-your-face identity politics has enthused many young Dalits.
Azad's Bhim Army is being seen as a possible challenger to Mayawati's BSP, even though Azad has said in an interview to ABP News that he does not want to be involved in politics, and would rather stay focused on educating his community through pathshalas (schools).