Scheduled Castes panel seeks filing of case against V.K. Singh

With Dalit leaders from the Congress as also within the NDA hitting out at the Union Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh cautioned his colleagues against making loose statements.

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:21 pm IST

Published - October 24, 2015 01:36 am IST - New Delhi

The BJP found itself under pressure on Friday with the Congress demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack Union Minister General (retd.) V.K. Singh for his “dog” remark in the context of a question on the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana. Adding to the embarrassment, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes called for the registration of a case against General Singh.

The embarrassment came from within the NDA too.

In Bihar, BJP ally Jitan Ram Manjhi dubbed Gen. Singh’s statement as reflective of a “feudal mindset.”

“If V.K. Singh has compared the incident of burning of Dalits with [stoning of] dogs, the Prime Minister should take cognisance of it and initiate appropriate action against him,” Mr. Manjhi said.

‘File case against Singh’

In response to a question on the Haryana deaths, >General Singh had wondered on Thursday whether the Centre would be held responsible even if someone stoned a dog.

With Dalit leaders from the Congress as also within the NDA hitting out at the Union Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh cautioned his colleagues against making loose statements. The BJP on its part sought to limit the damage by fielding its Dalit spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri to defend itself.

The Aam Aadmi Party also filed a police complaint against General Singh and demanded an FIR against him under the SC/ST (POA) Act. A delegation of AAP leaders approached the SC Commission too. “The Prime Minister has to sack him. He has to come out against all these happenings,” Kumari Selja, a Dalit leader and former Union minister from the Congress, told reporters. She also tacitly attacked the BJP and RSS worldview by saying “there was a fundamental distinction between them and the Congress, as the Congress believed in taking all sections along.”

She said that Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat had recently sought a reassessment of reservation benefits, thus tacitly projecting the BJP/RSS as “anti-Dalit.”

The Home Minister sought to limit the damage. “I feel that as leaders of the ruling party, we have to be careful before making a statement and we should also ensure there is no possibility of our statement being interpreted in the wrong way. We can’t get away by saying our statement was misinterpreted…,” Mr. Singh said.

SC Commission Chairman PL Punia – a Congress MP – has summoned the DGP of Uttar Pradesh and SSP of Ghaziabad, where General Singh made the statement, on November 2. “The police should register cases under Sections of the IPC and SC/ST (POA) Act in the matter,” Mr. Punia said.

Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, also a Dalit leader, told The Hindu: “Atrocities against Dalits in Haryana have increased under the BJP government. Be it the Faridabad incident, the latest death of a Dalit youth in police custody or atrocities reported from Mr. Khattar’s own village, the situation is alarming.”

The BJP tried to fend off criticism, but also sought to limit the damage. Spokesperson Vijay Sonkar Shastri admitted that the statement was “unfortunate” (durbhagyapurna), though he said that many attacks on Dalits had taken place in Haryana when the Congress was in power.

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