Patna: Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi sat on a dharna along with other leaders of Hindustani Awam Morcha Secular (HAMS), including his MLC son Santosh Kumar Suman, in New Delhi’s Parliament Street to press his demands.
Manjhi demanded that the Centre call a special Parliament session to bring the new ordinance to safeguard rights of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe after the apex court made changes in the SC/ST Act. The apex court has ruled that sanction of the appointing authority would be required before arrest or prosecution of the accused under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Later, the Centre moved a review petition in the Supreme Court but the apex court stood by its March 20, 2018, judgment saying banning immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring a ST/ST member was meant to protect innocents from arbitrary arrest and not an affront to Dalit rights. “The apex court has expressed concern over the issue. Now, the Centre should better call a special session of Parliament and bring a new ordinance for SC/ST to protect their rights. The SC/ST Act must be added in the Schedule IX of the Indian Constitution,” Manjhi said.
Accompanied by HAMS state unit president Brishen Patel, national spokesperson Danish Rizwan and other leaders, Manjhi demanded reservation in private as well as in the government sector.
Addressing supporters, Manjhi stressed the need for uniform education system for everyone in India. He demanded free electricity for farmers apart from declaration of farming as an industry.
“I demand poor people be given Rs 5,000 monthly as unemployment allowance till they get jobs. Senior citizens living below the poverty line should get Rs 1,000 as pension,” Manjhi said.
The HAMS also demanded special category status for Bihar, asking the Centre to change norms as Bihar was a poor state and there was need of a special package.
Brishen Patel said their agitation and protest will intensify if their demands are not met. Danish Rizwan said the party will visit other states to expose the anti-Dalit and anti-minority face of the BJP-led NDA government. He added that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, people of the country, Bihar in particular, will teach Prime Minister Narendra Modi a lesson by voting him out of power.
Courtesy: The Telegraph