September 21, 2020

Us-vs-them pitch in BJP bid to woo Dalits

Patna: The BJP on Friday claimed to be the party which cares for the interests of Dalits and also launched a frontal attack on one of the most prominent Dalit leaders of the country, maintaining that those winning elections with votes of Dalits had tampered with the law that safeguarded the community against atrocities.

The party claimed that the Opposition was playing with the interests of Dalits in the name of giving reservation benefits to lower caste communities from other faiths.

Leading the charge was Union minister for law and justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, who spoke at length on these issues during a media interaction and also during a programme organised by the BJP Scheduled Caste cell.

During his media interaction, Prasad elaborated on the points that were introduced by the Narendra Modi government in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in 2016 to give the law more teeth.

He then attacked Dalit leader and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.

Prasad claimed that two circulars issued by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2007 when Mayawati was the chief minister had weakened the provisions of the Act.

Reading out the two circulars, dated May 20, 2007 and October 29, 2007, the Union minister said that it also talked of rape victims from Dalit communities and stated that any action should be initiated only after getting the medical report.

Countering the Opposition’s charges on the BJP after the recent directive of the Supreme Court on the Act, Prasad said that the central government had not been made a party in the case.

As soon as the apex court decision came, the centre studied the judgment and readied its reply within five days, but it took 11 days to file the review petition because there was a six-day holiday in the court, Prasad said.

The Union minister also played the Hindu card during his interaction.

He raised questions over the demand from some corners to give reservation to Dalit Muslims and Christians.

“The Constitution clearly states that such reservation can be given to Dalits from Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh communities. If the same facility is given to Dalits from other faiths they would eat into the reservation benefits being given to the Dalit Hindus,” he said.

Later, speaking at the programme organised by the BJP’s Scheduled Caste cell, Prasad raised a similar issue.

He stated that the Narendra Modi government has changed the affidavit submitted by the erstwhile UPA government in which minority status had been given to two varsities – Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University as they were getting central funds.

“We changed the affidavit because if these universities would retain minority status the reservation facility could not be given to the SC/STs there,” the Union minister declared.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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