236 former members of the Valmiki community in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh converted to Buddhism on October 14, 2020 to express their anger at the lack of justice and constant harassment of the victim’s family in the Hathras gangrape and murder case.
Pavn Valmiki, one of the people who converted explained, “After the Hathras incident, we no longer trust the Yogi-government. Hindus do not consider us as one of them and Muslims do not accept us either.”He asked, “After Hathras, we have realised that this government will never accept us and nor will this government ever help us. So, what other option do we have?”
Similarly, 65-year-old Rajjo Valmiki said, “In Delhi, the Nirbhaya survivor was taken to the best hospital and the media never mentioned her caste. During the Hathras incident, a daughter of our community was mistreated. The police and doctors felt no sympathy while handling the body. So, why is the victim’s family being harassed by the media? This conveys to us that we are ‘the others,’ the lower-class.”
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s great-grandson Rajratna Ambedkar helped 50 families in Karhaida village of Ghaziabad to convert to the new religion. The initiated families read the 22 vows of Gautam Buddha. Moreover, they received certificates from the Buddhist Society of India.
According to a report by The Print, the families said they faced severe discrimination at the hands of the village’s Savarna majority. They said that Karhaida village has a population of 9,000 people out of which 5,000 people are from the upper-caste individuals and 2,000 people were members of the Valmiki community. According to Municipal Councilor Vijendra Singh Chauhan said that the village has never before seen a religious convergence of this scale.