Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Thursday had lunch with a Dalit family here in Odisha amidst ‘silent’ protest by majority of fellow villagers who were unhappy about the dilution of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Mr. Shah, who is on a two-day visit to western Odisha, came to the house of Maheswar Suna as part of the party’s Dalit outreach programme. He was served traditional Odia food. But the visit did not go down well with the residents of this Dalit-dominated hamlet, who remained indoors to convey their resentment.
“We are not happy with Mr. Shah’s visit to a Dalit family when the Act that protects our communities against harassment and discrimination has been diluted. We believe the BJP has an anti-Dalit agenda,” said Parameswar Suna, a resident of Deogaon in Balangir district.
“Since April 2, when many Dalit activists died and suffered injuries during Bharat Bandh across the country, we have been persuading the family not to host Mr. Shah as it would send a wrong signal. We had also passed a resolution in our village to stage a silent protest when the BJP leader visits our village,” he said.