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Drop in attacks on Dalits: Rajnath

Home Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh speaks in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Attendance thin as Lok Sabha debates atrocities on community.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday decried attempts to “create an impression” that the NDA government was anti-Dalit, and assured the Lok Sabha that his Ministry had told the State governments that strict and tough action should be taken against “any anti-social elements, whether in the name of Gau Raksha or any other cause”, who try to harm any member of the Dalit community.

He was responding to a debate on the recent incidents of atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat and other places as a result of cow vigilantism.

The government had, after two back-to-back speeches on the issue by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to give in to Opposition demands for a debate in the Lok Sabha, and fielded no less than four Ministers — Mr. Singh, Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Food Ram Vilas Paswan and Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal.

While attendance remained sparse for much of the debate, the government made a strong case against associating specific incidents of violence against Dalits with the BJP-led government at the Centre or the Sangh Parivar.

“I do not want to go into State-wise figures on crimes against Dalits, but overall figures show that in 2013 the cases of violence against Dalits were 39,346, which rose to 40,300 in 2014 and came down again (after the NDA took over) in 2015 to 38,564,” Mr. Singh said.

Bid to tar govt as anti-Dalit: Rajnath

The NDA government was taking no chances in the Lok Sabha in the debate and made a strong case against associating specific incidents of violence with the BJP-led government at the Centre or the Sangh Parivar.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, took the lead along with four other senior ministers in the debate. “The opposition keeps saying that the Prime Minister should speak on this issue; when he speaks you have a problem that he hasn’t spoken inside Parliament. Whether it is the Prime Minister or a chief minister, his iqbal (integrity) is more important than words. In this case, the government of Gujarat took very strong action. Mr. Modi spoke from the heart in defence of the Dalit community, and I too issued a strong advisory to state governments on the issue, I would advise the opposition to go through it,” he said.

“I want to tell the House that there is an attempt to associate anti-Dalit feelings with this government, and it is wrong and facts bear it out,” he said.

Defends Sangh Parivar

He also launched a strong defence of the Sangh Parivar, saying that it was one of the biggest organisations that was working for the Dalit and tribal communities. “Sewa Bharati and Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram are doing to signal work in remote areas of the country,” he said.

Earlier in the debate, initiated by P.K. Biju of the CPI(M), the MP cited statistics with regard to violence against Dalits, and said vigilante groups like the Gau Raksha Dal were creating an atmosphere of fear. K.H. Muniyappa of the Congress said: “Dalits are living in the grip of deep sense of fear and insecurity. There was no protection needed for SCs and STs earlier. When Vajpayee was there, such incidents never happened.”

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 11:19:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Drop-in-attacks-on-Dalits-Rajnath/article14564564.ece

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