NEW DELHI: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the Centre was doing everything it can to stop the atrocities against the Dalits and asked state governments to take action against anti-social elements indulging in nefarious activities in the name of cow protection.
Under fire from the Opposition parties which alleged that there has been an increase in atrocities against the Dalits, Rajnath said that the Centre has issued advisories to States asking them to take stringent action against people who are resorting to atrocities in the name of cow protection. “Our government is trying to check atrocities on Dalits. For their socio-economic upliftment, new laws have been made...,” Rajnath told Lok Sabha on Thursday as the House discussed the issue.
The discussion was marred by acrimony and walkout by Congress and the Left members who alleged that the incidents of atrocities against Dalits have increased since the NDA came to power two years back.
Rajnath, however, insisted that the violence against Dalits have come down since the Modi government came to power and belted out statistics to buttress the point. He said the number of registered cases of atrocities against Dalits were 39,346 in 2013, they went up to 40,300 in 2014 and thereafter came down to 38,564 in 2015. Quoting liberally from Dalit icon B R Ambedkar and Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, Singh said, “The authors of both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are from the Dalit community,” Rajnath said. On questions as to why Modi did not speak on the Dalit atrocities for so long, he asked the Opposition to spell out if earlier Prime Ministers since 1947 used to speak on each and every issue.
Some MPs also sought a ban on ‘right-wing’ cow vigilante outfits saying the SCs and STs were living in “deep sense of fear”.
CPM’s P K Biju spoke about the overall poor condition of Dalits and cited figures to argue that they were denied equal rights. Referring to PM Modi’s statement against cow vigilante groups, Biju demanded action against these outfits and not to remain confined to words alone.
Trinamool Congress’ Saugata Roy asked the Centre to ban VHP and ‘gau raksha dals’ saying in the name of cow protection, they were targeting Dalits and Muslims.
Taking potshots at the BJP and Modi, he also questioned why the PM had only referred to Dalits in his recent statements and made no mention of Muslims. He said it took Modi 26 days to speak out against Dalit atrocities after the Una incident.