Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday broke his silence on the cases of gangrape and murder in Kathua in Jammu and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh to state that justice will be done and “not a single criminal will be spared in these cases.”
He was speaking at the inauguration of a memorial for Dr. B.R. Ambedkar at Delhi’s Alipur Road.
“I want to assure the country that justice will be done and fully. Our daughters will get justice. It is an internal failing of our society and not at all fitting for any society that claims to be civilised and we are ashamed of it. We must address this issue together as a society,” he said.
Referring to the apprehensions over the weakening of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, following the March 20 Supreme Court ruling, Mr. Modi said his government would not allow that to happen. “We are the government that strengthened this Act, increased the enlisted crimes against SC/STs that can be tried from a list of 22 to 47. Be assured we will not allow the Act to weaken in any way,” he said.
The BJP had been facing a huge political backlash on both issues with Dalit groups calling for nationwide protests on April 2 that saw violence and loss of life and political parties holding candle light vigils to protest the heinous incidents at Kathua and Unnao.
In a speech of over an hour, Mr Modi not only listed details of how his government had imbibed the spirit of the “India that Babasaheb (Ambedkar) wanted” but also sharply attacked the Congress for the recent political attacks on his government.
“Whenever the Congress has its back towards the wall, it conspires using all means to eliminate those standing in its way. They have spread lies before every election that the BJP- led government will somehow end reservations. That is a lie. Earlier under Vajpayeeji’s government, and four years of mine, 12 years of my government in Gujarat and in all the States where the BJP is in government this hasn’t happened and will not. But before every elections these lies are spread,” Mr Modi said.
“Our government has in fact strengthened the SC/ST Act in 2015, set up a committee for the sub-categorisation of extremely backward class within the OBC categories and hiked the limit of creamy layer,” Mr Modi said.
“All our programmes like Jan Dhan, Swachch Bharat, Mudra, and the drive to electrify all villages are committed to the ideal of social justice because the denial of these things is an injustice and a way of driving inequality,” he said.
Nehru denied Ambedkar
“I want to tell people not to fall prey to the Congress and its ecosystem and those political parties who are in thrall of its ecosystem. If the Congress is taking Babasaheb Ambedkar’s name today it is only because of vote bank politics, they have been forced to do this,” he said.
“The truth is that the Congress humiliated Babasaheb Ambedkar while he was alive and even after his death. They made sure he lost Lok Sabha elections when he contested in 1952, with even former prime minister Nehru campaigning against him, and even when he fought a bypoll from Bhandara in 1953, they made sure he lost. It was Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who helped Babasaheb Ambedkar enter Parliament via the Rajya Sabha after that. It was only when V.P. Singh’s government came to power with the support of the BJP, that the Bharat Ratna was awarded to him, although members of that one family of the Congress had got it earlier. It was the BJP that pushed for Babasaheb Ambedkar’s portrait to be placed in the Central Hall of Parliament,” the Prime Minister said.