Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday called for a time-bound inquiry into the Maharashtra caste violence and said strict action should be taken against those found guilty.
Paswan, chief of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) which is an NDA ally, also rejected the charge that such violence was taking place mostly in BJP-ruled states, saying that Bihar had witnessed a number of such incidents under the rule of Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad.
“Judicial inquiry should be conducted in a time-bound manner. Some people are saying that it was due to administrative lapses while others are accusing some people behind the violence. Whosoever are guilty, strict action should be taken against them,” he told a TV channel outside Parliament.
Condemning the violence, Paswan said that there was also a need to find out the reasons for the caste violence in Maharashtra which had no such history.
The new generation cannot accept caste-based violence and discrimination, he said.
Terming the caste system as the biggest evil of the society, he called for a change in attitude of the people.
Violence erupted in Pune district on Monday when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa’s army.
Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community – then considered untouchable – were part of the East India Company’s forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.
A Maharashtra bandh was called by various Dalit and other organisations to protest the violence but was withdrawn this afternoon.
Incidents of road blockades, arson and stone-pelting were reported in Mumbai and elsewhere during the day.