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Dalit Groups Defer Bharat Bandh After Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Restore Original SC/ST Atrocity Law

Dalit groups under the banner of the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha (AIAM) said they have only deferred the protest, and not called it off.

Rounak Kumar Gunjan |

Updated:August 8, 2018, 8:02 PM IST
Dalit Groups Defer Bharat Bandh After Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Restore Original SC/ST Atrocity Law
File photo of dalit activists during a nationwide strike in Ahmedabad. (Image: AP)
New Delhi: Bharat Bandh called by Dalit organisations against the Supreme Court ruling on SC/ ST Act that was supposed to be held on Thursday has been deferred. Dalit groups under the banner of the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha (AIAM) have not yet decided on the next date.

Speaking to News18, Ashok Bharti, chairman of AIAM said, “We are giving more time to the government to fulfill our demands. We are not calling off the bandh, we are only deferring it. If the Centre does not accept our demands we will hit the streets again.”

Bharti also said that this was done keeping in mind the Kanwariya Yatra. "It is the culmination day of the Kanwariya Yatra, we don't want to cause problems to them," he said.

They will however, support the protest led by ex-servicemen on One Rank One Pension (OROP) and All India Kisan Sabha-led agitation on farm crisis, both scheduled to be staged on Thursday in New Delhi.

"The government was rattled by our call for a Bharat Bandh. That is why they have agreed to bring in the amendments," Bharti added. He said the AIAM has taken a "positive note" of the government fulfilling their "major demand".

This comes immediately after the Lok Sabha passed The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill 2018 to overturn a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the law. The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill 2017, which grants constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), was also passed by Parliament on Monday.

Asserting that the government is protecting the rights of the Dalit community, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale has earlier appealed to the public not to participate in the Bharat Bandh and maintain peace, harmony and brotherhood in the country.

Athawale said that the passage of the two bills was a revolutionary step. He also alleged that the opposition is defaming the government wrongly and assured that the Centre is continuously working towards the welfare of Dalits.

The BJP will also be observing "social justice fortnight" from August 15-30 and "social justice week" from August 1-9 from next year to mark the parliamentary nod to the bill seeking to grant constitutional status to the OBC Commission.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Tuesday said that the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament will be remembered as a session dedicated to social justice and social harmony.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said PM Modi referred to the passage of a bill in the Lok Sabha to strengthen a law against Dalit atrocities. Kumar said they expected that the Rajya Sabha will also pass it during the ongoing monsoon session, which ends on August 10.

The PM said that the interests of none of the sections of society have not been adversely affected and the passage of the OBC bill underlines his government's manta of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas'.
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