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‘Thekedars’ of dalits creating tensions: PM

New Delhi: Condemning atrocities against dalits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accused “self- appointed champions” of the community of giving political colour to the social problem to create tensions even as he asked politicians, including his own partymen, to shun irresponsible statements.

He said he was committed to the welfare of dalits and other oppressed sections of the society but some people were levelling all kinds of allegations against him as they cannot digest that “Modi is pro-dalit”.

The incidents of violence against dalits or anybody else are “condemnable” and it does not behove of a civilised society, he told Network18 in an interview.

“I want to tell politicians, including my own partymen, that there should be no irresponsible statements against any person or community. TV channels may chase you for TRPs but think about the nation.

“Those in public life, even if they are social organisations, should think about the country’s unity, the society’s unity and brotherhood and not create a situation of despondency. They should be extra cautious,” he stressed.

Speaking about pain of the dalits, Modi said, “If we have a small wound, it hurts even if a paper touches it. But for those who have been suffering for centuries, it hurts them a lot even if an incident is small. So there should be no such incident at all.”

Describing it as a “deep-rooted social problem”, he said, “we should remove such an evil” against such communities who have suffered for centuries.

Noting that there are many dalits who are BJP MPs and MLAs in the country, he said, “Ever since I celebrated 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar…Many people felt that Modi is Ambedkar’s follower. They started having problems.

“Those who consider themselves as ‘thekedars’ could not digest that Modi is pro-dalit, that I am mad for them. Yes, I devoted to the dalits, the oppressed and the deprived sections, including women… Since I have crossed their (self-appointed champions) path, they are levelling all kinds of allegations against me.”

He said, “Those who fed poison and destroyed the country by doing such politics should stop giving political colour to social problems.
While slamming those targeting him for atrocities against

dalits, the Prime Minister said, “let us understand that law and order is a State subject and we should not blame Modi for everything… Some people are conspiring to selectively blame me. Whatever is their intention, it hurts the nation.”

He said statistics show that the incidents of communal violence, atrocities on dalits and atrocities on tribals are lesser during his government as compared to previous government. “But it is not the issue as to what happened in your govermenet and my governemnt. It does not behove our society,” Modi added.

“The nation is convinced that our plank is only development but those people who never wanted to see such a government or who did not want the previous governemnt to go, they have a problem,” Modi said.

“Development is our plank. It is not because of politics but it is my conviction,” the Prime Minister said.

To a question on poverty alleviation, he said “it has been a political slogan” and there has been a lot of politics in the name of the poor.

“I do not want to comment as to whether it was good or bad. But my approach is different. To eradicate poverty, we need to empower the poor and only they can end their poverty. To keep the poor in that state, there can be politics but to eradicate poverty, we need to empower them. Education and employment is essential in this regard. Eonomic empowerment is essential,” he said.

He talked about schemes launched by his government for the upflitment of the poor.

Asked how much crucial was peace for the country’s economic progress, Modi said “well-being, peace and harmony” are essential in life and in the society.

“Even if a family is very prosperous, there is a need for peace, unity and harmony in that,” he said, adding he was committed to this end.