More than 200 Dalit protesters, led by senior BJP leaders, gathered near Sector 25 and marched towards the Punjab Assembly but stopped at police barricades near the roundabout of sectors 24/25/36/37 as police used water canons on them on Monday. The protesters had gathered under the banner of Scheduled Caste (SC) Morcha of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Punjab unit.
The protesters, led by Punjab BJP general secretary Kewal Kumar, vice-president Raj Kumar Pathi and secretary Vineet Joshi, SC Morcha BJP Punjab’s state president Manjit Bali and general secretary Rajinder Khatri, former chief parliamentary secretary Seema Kumari, former MLA Mohan Lal Banga, were up in arms over the sharp rise in atrocities against Dalits ever since the Congress formed government in Punjab.
The protesters had gathered in protest agianst the sudden rise in atrocities on Dalits in Punjab and non-fulfilment of pre-poll promises by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Pre-poll promises included one job per SC family, free house for homeless SCs, waiving unpaid SC loans and others. Dalits are the most affected lot, their daughters/women are molested/raped, mighty people are dispossessing them from their lands, paraded naked, beating them mercilessly, killing them, trying to burn them alive and all this either by or at the behest of local Congress leaders, alleged Bali.
Police inaction in the murder of two young Dalits in Muktsar, murder of 62-year-old Dalit in Moga and protest by a Dalit widow in front of the Sangrur deputy commissioner’s office speaks volumes about police partisan role, said ex-MLA Mohan Lal Banga. Now, the Punjab government has completed three months in office but none of its pre-poll promises made via election manifesto has seen the light of day, asserted Joshi.
Some of them are reserving seats for SCs in the appointment of chairman, vice-chairman, members and directors of trusts, boards and corporations, waiver of outstanding loans up to Rs 50,000 raised by poor SCs from SCFC, disbursal of post-Matriculation scholarship on time, to clear existing backlog in government jobs in a time-bound manner. SC Morcha BJP asked Amarinder to take concrete time-bound steps to fulfil the pre-poll promises or else be prepared to face a statewide agitation.