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Union Minister Ramdas Athawale Blames Congress, BSP for Violence During Dalit Protests

The Dalit leader, who is also the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, appealed to the community to maintain peace and said the Centre was committed to protecting their rights.

PTI

Updated:April 3, 2018, 7:30 PM IST
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Union Minister Ramdas Athawale Blames Congress, BSP for Violence During Dalit Protests
File photo of Union Minister Ramdas Athawale.
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New Delhi: The Dalit protests in several states on Monday were not against the Centre, but against the orders of the Supreme Court, Union minister Ramdas Athawale said on Tuesday, while accusing the Congress and the BSP of trying to incite violence during the agitation.

The Dalit leader, who is also the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, appealed to the community to maintain peace and said the Centre was committed to protecting their rights.

"The Dalit protests were not against the government, but against the orders of the court...The NDA government is committed to protecting the rights of the Dalits and it had filed a review petition against the directions of the Supreme Court on April 2...The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are trying to incite violence over the protests, which they should not do," Athawale, whose Republican Party of India (RPI) is a part of the ruling coalition, told a press conference here.

He alleged that both the Congress and the BSP had done precious little to promote the interests of the Dalits when they were in power at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh respectively and added that the NDA government was serious about the smallest of the issues raised by the community. "No party that is opposed to the Dalits can get its candidates elected," Athawale said.

He assured the Dalits that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was serious about all the issues plaguing them, including reservations in promotions. The Union minister pointed out that there was already anger among the Dalits over an earlier order of the Supreme Court on reservation in promotions and added that it got aggravated with the top court's ruling on the SC/ST Act.

Condemning the violent protests, Athawale said if the agitation was peaceful, it could have had a stronger impact on the society. He also demanded an impartial probe into Monday’s violence to find out who were behind it.

"Various reports say that the violence was incited and the Congress, BSP and other opposition parties had a hand in it. I have met the deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and demanded an inquiry," Athawale said.

The death toll in Monday's violence has gone up to 11 with two more persons succumbing to their injuries in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday. The Supreme Court today refused to stay its recent order on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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