NEW DELHI: American civil rights activist Martin Luther King III said the “state or central” administration of the day “should be held” responsible for incidents against Dalits and poor in India.
King, the son of Martin Luther King Jr was responding to a query as to how the present central government could be held responsible for lynching incidents like in Dadri when incidents against Dalits and poor had been taking place under different state and central governments for decades and that law and order was a state subject.
“When incidents against Dalits, oppressed and the poor take place, whoever is in power, he or she at the state or central level, should be held accountable for such incidents,” he told PTI in an interview here.
However, the facts show that such incidents against the oppressed and poor people have risen and the Indian Prime Minister should address the issue, he said.
On the popularity of Modi still going up as reflected in repeated election victories, he said it is for the people of India to choose their rulers.
“I think the real and biggest question is what do the people want. People in the last election chose the Modi administration. Whether people of India will re-choose Modi in the next election, I don’t know. If they are against, they need to rise up in numbers to oppose his rule,” he said.
“India still has a long way to go to solve the problems of poverty and against the oppressed and poor people,” he added.
Referring to the Trump administration, King said the US president has to acknowledge the environment of hatred in the country and address it, something which he has not done so far.
He said that in 2015, there was not much environment of hatred in the United States.
“When Donald Trump started running his rhetoric in 2016, things started going up. By the time he got elected, it kept going further up. He has to acknowledge this, but he hasn’t so far. He should acknowledge,” he said.
Yesterday, in his inaugural address at BR Ambedkar International Conference – Quest For Equity – 2017, King drew a parallel between India and the US, saying both the countries are ruled by people who have “little regard” for the poor, and where there is no respect for the rule of law.
King had said both India and the US are seeing a rise in hate crimes.
“If my father were here, he would have stood by the Dalit demonstrations that the country is seeing in different places,” he added, drawing a parallel between the values espoused by Ambedkar and civil rights movement icon Martin Luther King Jr.