Stating that over one lakh inter-caste marriages happen in India every year, Ramdas Athawale, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment on Wednesday said there was a 27 per cent growth in the number of inter-caste marriages in Gujarat over the last four years.
“The Ambedkar Foundation gives Rs 2.5 lakh for every inter-caste marriage and in one year a minimum of one lakh inter-caste marriages take place in the country. This is important to end the casteism in the country and so that two castes can be brought together,” Athawale said during an interaction with media persons in Ahmedabad.
Pointing out that Gujarat gives Rs 1 lakh to every couple in case of an inter-caste marriage, the Union Minister stated a total of 2,726 such marriages took place in Gujarat between 2016 and 2020. During this four-year period such marriages grew from 667 in 2016-17 to 846 in 2019-20, he said.
On the “love jihad” law enacted by some of the state governments, the minister said, “I don’t think religious conversion in needed in such cases. No Hindu should get converted to Islam.”
Taking a dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Athawale said, “The more Rahul Gandhi speaks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leadership of Modiji will become stronger.” He added that Rahul can criticise, “but unnecessary criticism, like the stand he took on Rafale issue in 2019, benefitted Modi”.
On upcoming polls in West Bengal, Athawale said the Republican Party of India will be fighting polls along with the BJP in that state. “Dalits account for 36 per cent of the population in West Bengal and there we will stand with the BJP,” he added.
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