After Paswan, BJP MP Udit Raj Criticises Justice Goel's Appointment as NGT Chief
Udit Raj also called for the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who is currently in Saharanpur jail after being booked under the draconian National Security Act.
BJP MP Udit Raj. (Twitter @Dr_Uditraj)
New Delhi: The April 2 Bharat Bandh protests were put down with unusual high-handedness because issues of Dalit rights were raised by the protesting members of the community, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Udit Raj said in Parliament on Tuesday.
Raj also claimed that the appointment of former Supreme Court judge AK Goel — “whose judgment had adversely affected the lives of Dalits” — to the chairmanship of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had “caused immense pain to Dalits”.
With his statement, Raj echoed the sentiments of Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who had expressed displeasure at Goel’s appointment. Paswan on Tuesday said Goel’s appointment had sent a “wrong message” and he was the “same judge who ruled against” the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.
Goel was part of a two-member Supreme Court bench which had ruled that a public servant cannot be arrested under the Act before an inquiry. The order sparked outrage across the country and led to widespread protests in which 11 people died and hundreds were detained.
Raj added that “of the 10 Dalits who were killed in protests, eight died in non-police firing”. “The so-called savarns could not stomach the fact that Dalits had stood up for their rights,” he said.
Speaking about the April 2 protests, Raj said the “judiciary has played a negative role by postponing the trials and delaying the possibilities of bail to the Dalit protesters” who were arrested for allegedly participating in the demonstrations.
“Hundreds of people are being confined on questionable grounds, many of them are innocent children who have been put in Kaithal and Meerut jails,” he said.
Raj also called for the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who is currently in Saharanpur jail after being booked under the draconian National Security Act (NSA). The law allows the state to place any citizen under preventive detention without legal recourse.
“Azad has been kept in jail for many months now, his condition is worsening,” Raj added.
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