September 29, 2020

Rajak dares Paswan to quit cabinet

Patna: Former minister and JDU MLA Shyam Rajak on Wednesday made a scathing attack on Union minister of food and consumer affairs Ram Vilas Paswan, a day after former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi called him an anti-Dalit and said he would oppose his entry into the Grand Alliance.

Rajak, the JDU’s Phulwarisharif MLA, asked Paswan to quit the Narendra Modi cabinet and stage an agitation to demand amendment to the SC/ST atrocities Act. “Paswan is big Dalit leader, but in the larger interest of Dalits he should resign his cabinet post and stage an agitation on the roads,” said Rajak, who too is a Dalit leader and the JDU’s national general secretary. “We will always stand behind him.” Rajak, who is in politics for over two decades and has held ministerial posts in the Lalu-Rabri and Nitish Kumar cabinet, also asked Paswan to clear his party’s stand on appointment of Justice (retired) A.K. Goel as National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman.

“We have come to know from media reports that Paswan and his son Chirag have opposed Goel’s appointment as NGT chairman, but if the government is not listening to their demands than why is Paswan continuing as minister,” Rajak asked. “He should immediately resign from the cabinet.”

Justice Goel, one of two Supreme Court judges, had on March 20 banned the immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe member, claiming that it was a step that protects innocents from arbitrary arrest. The Paswans have already written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh, demanding amendment to the SC/ST Act and have also opposed the Centre’s move to appoint Justice (retired) Goel as NGT chairperson.

Sources said both Rajak and Manjhi are projecting themselves as major Dalit leaders from the state. Rajak had on an earlier occasion left no stone unturned while attacking the Narendra Modi government on the Dalit issue. He has often advocated reservation for Dalits in the judiciary and the private sector. Rajak, who become MLA in 1995, has been in the Lalu-Rabri as well as Nitish Kumar cabinets but was allegedly kept out in 2015, reportedly under pressure from RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

Sources said the Union cabinet on Wednesday approved an amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and has decided to bring in an amendment bill to restore the original provisions of the SC/ST Act.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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