People belonging to Musahar community - one of the Scheduled Castes in Uttar Pradesh - have alleged that they were given soap and shampoo by the local administration ahead of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's visit in the area.
According to media reports, a day before Adityanath's visit to Mainpur Deenapatti village in Kushinagar district on Thursday, Musahar Dalit families received two soaps and a sachet of shampoo, and instructions to "clean themselves" before attending the public meeting.
NDTV also reports that some of the people in the village were also asked to use perfume before meeting the Chief Minister.
Musahars belong to a socially marginalised section of the community and are said to feed on rodents for their survival due to extreme poverty. Hindustan Times also reports that a local BJP leader gave bath to one of the people of the community in order to set an example of cleanliness.
The alleged move drew severe criticism from Congress.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told PTI:
"The incident has depicted the true face of the BJP and the RSS, particularly the chief minister. He said Adityanath appeared not to be a 'yogi' (renouncer), but a 'bhogi' (materialistic). The true face, thought process, thinking, actions have reflected in the way the soaps were distributed and callous officials said that they must smell good before the chief minister. A low level of untouchability was directly practiced."
Meanwhile, the local administration continues to deny the reports of any soaps or shampoo being distributed.
As per Indian Express, the program was organized to promote cleanliness and in the past as well, the Musahar community has been distributed soaps to promote hygiene and cleanliness. The administration added that whosoever distributed the soaps should instead be appreciated for their efforts.
(Feature image source: YouTube)