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Shut Down The Casteist Piano Man Jazz Club for its Hate Crimes against Dalits

This petition had 620 supporters


The Piano Man, a popular jazz club located at B 6- Commercial Complex,Safdarjung Enclave Opp Deer Pa rk Nr Mother Dairy, New Delhi, Delhi 110029, India known for hosting jazz events in the capital city of India. Recently, the club hosted a music band event called "Bhangijumping". Bhangi is a scheduled caste community forced into manual scavenging and sweeping work in India. The word bhangi is considered a slur used to describe ‘dirty addicts’ and forward castes use it on each other as an insult, as well as use it towards the Bhangi community to dehumanise and reduce their identity to something associated with ‘filth’. When brought to the notice of the club owner Arjun Sagar Gupta, he offered passive aggressive clarification justifying the name bhangijumping as a form of ‘artistic expression’. Dalits protested and boycotted the jazz club on their now deleted FB events page managed by Piano Man and voiced their outrage. Responding to which the friends of the band hurled abuses and mocked them for protesting despite several Dalits taking the time to explain why the word bhangi is a slur and why the name "bhangi jumping" [killing themselves] is an offensive music band name equating to hate speech against Dalits-- the owner of Piano Man did nothing to intervene, stop the abuses and mockery and in fact 'liked' the offensive comments made against Dalits. Dalit Bahujans who took the time to explain the offensive word and then boycotted the club after being mocked were called "small minded" and "aggressive" for boycotting the page in the Club owner Arjun Sagar Gupta's 'clarification note' and were also told that they- all of them Dalit Bahujan- are not welcome inside the premises of Piano Man. Piano Man called themselves 'vehement supporters of artistic freedom' completely undermining the social and legal connotations of using casteist slurs, that are used to oppress and humiliate Dalit Bahujans and Adivasis, and also in claiming Dalits are not welcome to the premise.

After a series of exchanges via social media, the owner issued a public apology. Right after the apology was acknowledged, the friends of the owner of Piano Man inflicted Dalits and the entire community with casteist slurs. Statements like "Chamar bhangi sale", "gutter saaf karne wali" (Chamar Bhangi, the ones who clean manholes) and "Go back to cleaning toilets now", "Ambedkar ki najayaaz aulad," (Ambedkar’s bastards) Were used on Facebook. The people hurled these slurs and 'liked' the comments at Dalit Bahujans protesting this event on the Club's FB page, and were all connected to Arjun Sagar Gupta as they appeared as his 'friend' on his FB profile. The Club took no action neither did they acknowledge these slurs being hurled, but once people started sharing the photo of the slurs, they were promptly deleted. The Piano Man jazz club neither acknowledged nor condemned the slurs hurled, that too hurled at women Dalit Bahujans who they stalked online and then slutshamed i.e. sexually harassed. Another FB friend of Arjun Gupta who came across as his close associate from the comments demanded a 'private screening' of 'bhangijumping' and once again belittled the trauma of Dalits and accused them as aggressors.

We boycott the place, Piano Man, and their associates for following reasons:

1) Allowing, encouraging and giving a platform for their associates to abuse Dalits with casteist slurs 'chamber' 'bhangi' 'gutter saaf carne wali' and belittling Dalits and discriminating against them. Accusing Dalits boycotting the place to be 'close minded aggressors' and telling Dalits they are not welcome at the venue.

2) And participating in antagonising people, and encouraging their friends to pass casteist comments in support of their venue.

We demand shutting down the place and booking the offenders under the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 to safeguard the modesty of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe in India.

The act states the following:

Punishments for offence of atrocities—

“Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Castes or a Scheduled Tribes”
Forces a member of a Scheduled Castes or a Scheduled Tribes to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance;
Acts with intent to cause injury, insult or annoyance to any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by dumping excreta, waste matter, carcasses or any other obnoxious substance in his premies or neighbourhood;
Forcibly removes clothes from the person of a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or parades him naked or with painted face or body or commits any similar act which is derogatory to human dignity;
Wrongfully occupies or cultivates any land owned by, or allotted to, or notified by any competent authority to be allotted to, a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe or gets the land allotted to him transferred;
Wrongfully dispossesses a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe from his land or premises or interferes with the enjoyment of his right over any land, premises or water;
Compels or entices a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to do ‘begar’ or other similar forms of forced or bonded labour other than compulsory service for public purposes imposed by Government;
Forces or intimidates a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe not to vote or to vote to a particular candidate or to vote in a manner other than that provided by law;
(viii)Institutes false, malicious or vexations suit or criminal or other legal proceedings against a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;
Gives, any false or frivolous information to any public servant and thereby causes such public servant to use his lawful power to the injury or annoyance of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe;
Intentionally insuits or intimidates with intent to humiliate a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view;
Assaults or uses forces to any woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe with intent to dishonor or outrage her modesty;
Being in a position to dominate the will of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe and uses that position to exploit the sexually to which she would not have otherwise agreed;
Corrupts or fouls the water of any spring, reservoir or any other source ordinarily used by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes so as to render it less fit for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used;
Denies a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe any customary right of passage to a place of public resort or obstructs such member so as to prevent him from using or having access to a place of public resort to which other members of public or any section thereof have a right to use or access to;
Forces or causes a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to leave his house, village or other place of residence, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extent to five years and with fine.”

We request your participation to share widely and sign petition to book the offenders, Varun Bansal, Anshuman Kukreti, Siddharth Wadhwa, Akshay Kapoor, Naval Chopra and Arjun Sagar Gupta for perpetuating, promoting, inciting and participating in casteist discrimination and passing casteist slurs, harassing, belittling and  traumatising the Dalit Bahujan community in India.


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