PM has anti-Dalit mindset: Rahul

New Delhi, Aug 9 (PTI): | Publish Date: 8/10/2018 4:31:47 AM IST

 Congress president Rahul Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having an “anti-Dalit” mindset and asserted that a government for the welfare of the weaker sections will be formed in 2019 following the BJP’s defeat.

Dalits are being openly beaten and crushed in states where the BJP is in power, Gandhi said in a scathing attack against the prime minister at a protest organised by Dalit organisations over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. “Everything starts from intent. If he (Modi) would have had place for Dalits in his heart, then policies would have been framed differently. In Gujarat, he brought out a book of his speeches in which he wrote that Dalits get spiritual satisfaction out of cleaning. These lines throw light on his thinking and ideology,” Gandhi said at the protest held in Jantar Mantar here.

He alleged that the prime minister, the BJP and the RSS don’t want Dalits to have a share in education and in progress of the nation. 

Attacking the prime minister, Gandhi said, “His thinking is anti-Dalit. All Dalits and people from the weaker sections know that the prime minister has no place for Dalits in his heart and mind and wants to crush Dalits. That is why we are standing against him.”

He added that the BJP will be defeated in 2019 and a government for Dalits, weaker sections, tribals, farmers formed.

The atrocities act was brought by the Congress and the party will protect it together with the people, Gandhi added.

“The atrocities act was given to India by the Congress party and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, it was attacked and the judge who attacked it was promoted and rewarded by the Modi government,” he said, referring to the appointment of A K Goel as head of the National Green Tribunal. 

“Wherever there is a BJP government, in those states Dalits are openly beaten and crushed. We don’t want an India like this. We want an India in which there should be place for everybody, whether Dalits, poor, tribals or minorities...everybody should progress. We will fight for such an India,” he added.

Declaring that there will be no stepping back, he said Dalits are crushed whenever they try to progress and cited the case of Rohith Vemula, the PhD scholar at Hyderabad university who committed suicide in the campus on January 17, 2016.

Several Dalit groups have voiced their protest against the Supreme Court ruling of March 20, saying the law against atrocities faced by the weakest sections of the society was “diluted” by putting additional safeguards against arrest of the accused.

Insulting Dalit pride Congress’ legacy: Shah

Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi for accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having an “anti-Dalit” mindset, BJP president Amit Shah today asked the Congress chief to look at facts when “free from winking” and alleged it was the opposition party that had a legacy of insulting Dalits.

In a series of tweets, Shah said the prime minister’s legacy includes “strongest amendments to SC/ST Act” and setting up of the OBC Commission, while the Congress legacy was about insulting Dalit leaders, opposing the Mandal Commission report and blocking a move to empower the OBC body.

His attack at the Congress and its president came after Gandhi joined a protest at Jantar Mantar and criticised Modi over his government’s policies towards Dalits.

In a series of tweets scoffing at Gandhi, Shah asked him to spend some time on facts “when you are free from winking and disrupting Parliament” and asserted that the NDA government has ensured the strongest amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

He was referring to Gandhi’s apparent wink in Lok Sabha after hugging Modi during a debate on the no-confidence motion against the government. 

“Why are you protesting that?”, Shah asked Gandhi while taking about the new bill that seeks to reverse a recent Supreme Court order that put additional safeguards against arrest of accused in cases of atrocities against Dalits. Attacking Gandhi, Shah said it would have been good if the Congress leader had spoken about his party’s treatment of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Babu Jagjivan Ram and Sitaram Kesari. 

“Congress way of treating Dalits is patronising and condescending. For years Congress insulted Dalit aspirations,” Shah said.

He asked whether it was a co-incidence that the year Sonia Gandhi joined the Congress, the third front-Congress government opposed reservations in promotions and the year Rahul Gandhi became the party president, it opposed a tough SC/ SCT Act and the OBC Commission. “Anti-backward mindset visible,” Shah tweeted.

“Mr Rahul Gandhi, expecting research and honesty is difficult from you but do read Mr Rajiv Gandhi’s speech during Mandal (row), when he opposed it (its recommendations) tooth & nail. The sense of entitlement and hatred for backward communities comes out so clearly. And today you talk about Dalit welfare!” he said.

Shah further said the Modi government has developed a ‘panchteerth’ -- a reference to five places associated with the life of Ambedkar, while the Congress insulted Dalit leaders and pride. 


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