Despite the widespread belief that caste is a relic of the past or confined only to rural areas, instances of caste-based discrimination repeatedly emerge, dispelling such notions and challenging the perception that it is solely a rural issue.
One such incident has come to light in the National Capital of our country . The incident took place in Mayur Vihar society, which is one of the most posh areas located in eastern part of New Delhi and is home to many eminent journalist, bureaucrats etc.
RamAvatar Verma, a shoemaker who mends shoes outside the Hindustan Times Apartment, complained that he uses the title "Verma" in his surname and that all his certificates bear that name. His daughters also use the same title, so it is quite natural for him to use "Verma" in his makeshift shop.
Verma stated, "I have written my name on the flip side of the door of the small almirah used for keeping tools, etc. One GL Verma, a lawyer residing in the Hindustan Society apartment, became angry upon seeing this and warned me against using the title in my shop. He belongs to the Chamar community and believes that I should use the same title. Initially, I relented and acquiesced to his demand, covering the name with paper. However, over time, the paper got damaged, exposing my name once again. This time, his threats grew more vociferous, and he even threatened to throw away my possessions. I went to the police station, but the SHO was not present. I will visit again to file my case and seek justice."
The lawyer's story
On the other hand, when The Mooknayak contacted GL Verma, the accused vehemently denied the charges and alleged that a lobby was behind the baseless complaint made by the cobbler. He further expounded his argument, stating that a school is located nearby, and he had filed a petition against push-cart vendors who were using gas cylinders in the proximity of the school. According to him, this violates Supreme Court guidelines, which prohibit cooking within a 500-meter radius of any school, and the case is still sub judice in court. The advocate asserts that the lobby, which was aggrieved by his petition, is behind this.
Not a casteist person, says lawyer
Advocate Verma clarifies that he is not a casteist person, and identifies himself as an OBC. He further adds that he holds the position of Deputy Secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Pichda Jati Kalyan Warg, and during his tenure as a gazetted officer, he granted promotions to many SC/ST employees. To buttress his point, he mentions that his maid-servant is also a Scheduled Caste lady, and he has written articles on Ravidas and Ambedkar. Most importantly, he states that he has no objection to the title used by the cobbler, Ram Avatar Verma.
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