Lok Janshakti Party warns of fierce Dalit protests, wants Justice Goel removed as NGT chairman

Updated - July 26, 2018 05:27 pm IST

Published - July 26, 2018 09:55 am IST - New Delhi

 Representatives of various organisations stage a candlelight protest against the Supreme Court judgement on the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act which led to the death of nine dalits in North India, in Visakhapatnam in April 2018.

Representatives of various organisations stage a candlelight protest against the Supreme Court judgement on the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act which led to the death of nine dalits in North India, in Visakhapatnam in April 2018.

BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has cautioned the government that protests planned by the Dalit groups on August 9 could be sharper and far more aggressive than the April protests .

LJP’s Parliamentary Party chairman Chirag Paswan, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi , said: “This time the protests could get fiercer and sharper. Justice AK Goel’s judgement in the Supreme Court rendered the SC/ST ACT ineffectual. After his retirement, he has been appointed as chairman of the National Green Tribunal [NGT]. This has sent out a message to the SC/ST community that our government has awarded Justice Goel for his judgement,” Mr. Paswan wrote.

The LJP sought the removal of Justice Goel as NGT chairman.

The letter also reiterated the LJP’s demand to immediately bring in an ordinance to ensure that status quo is maintained in the SC/ST Act.

Justice Goel was one of two judges of the Supreme Court Bench which, on March 20, laid down stringent safeguards , including the provision for anticipatpory bail and a preliminary enquiry before registration of a case under the Act. The judgement noted that there had been instances of abuse of the Act.

Since the judgement, the LJP has been demanding that the government issue an ordinance to restore the original Act. Though the BJP government had been making the right noises, it was yet to issue orders, the LJP felt.

Ram Vilas Paswan's similar letter to Rajnath

Mr. Chirag Paswan's father and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan too had written a similar letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The LJP had backed the BJP even as the TDP and the PDP left the NDA, with Mr. Paswan defending the BJP on various issues. BJP's other ally Shiv Sena has been playing hardball as well. Sources in the LJP told The Hindu that if the government continued to ignore the issue, they no longer would be able back it.

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