New Delhi : Lok Sabha today saw uproar over thrashing of some dalits by some people in Gujarat, with Congress accusing BJP and RSS of working for “dalit-mukt Bharat”, evoking a sharp reaction from government which cited figures of atrocities faced by dalits during Congress rule.
After the opposition party raised the issue and created din, Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the incident “very unfortunate” and condemned in strongest words the beating up of some dalits for skinning a dead cow in Una.
He said the Anandiben Patel government had acted “swiftly and effectively”, arresting nine of the accused and is working to have special court to try them. The state government is also providing medical care and compensation to the victims, he said.
K Suresh (Cong), who raised the issue during the Zero Hour, demanded setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to go into the incident.
He raised the issue after virtually the entire opposition was on its feet protesting against the incident with Congress members storming the Well.
“Violence is RSS agenda. RSS is trying for ‘dalit-mukt Bharat’ (dalit-free India). The government totally failed. It was a BJP-sponsored attack. What is going on? Is this Gujarat model,” he said, evoking sharp reactions from BJP members.
Suresh claimed it was the BJP’s agenda to polarise communities before the state assembly elections slated by end of next year and alleged that the saffron party was doing it in all states ruled by it.
In his reply, the Home Minister sought to turn the tables on the opposition party, contending that cases of atrocities against dalits in Gujarat were much higher during the Congress rule from 1991 till Narendra Modi became the Chief Minister of the state in 2001.
Citing figures, he claimed that cases of atrocities against dalits had declined in the state after Modi took over as Chief Minister in 2001.
He, however, apparently forgot that Gujarat had BJP government headed by Keshubhai Patel from 1995 and ruled for most of the period till 2001 before Modi took over.
Singh said crimes against dalits were a “social evil” and all parties should join hands to eradicate it. Expressing dissatisfaction over the Home Minister’s reply, Congress and TMC members staged a walkout.
Earlier, Suresh referred to large-scale protests by dalits following the incident and said there was “emergency-like” situation in parts of the BJP-ruled state.
Attributing the violence to RSS and “upper caste lobby” , inviting protests from the treasury benches.
The Congress member said dalits in the state have lost faith in the government and
Many dalits have tried to commit suicide as they have no faith in the state government, the Congress member alleged.