August 3, 2018 10:44:44 pm
The proposed ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by Dalit organisations on August 9 to protest the Supreme Court ruling on the SC/ST Act should be called off as the centre has decided to bring an amendment bill to restore the law, LJP leader and Lok Sabha MP Chirag Paswan today said. “There is no reason now to go ahead with the bandh and protest the Supreme Court verdict given that the government has decided to bring an amendment,” he told reporters here, adding that the legislation could be introduced today itself and passed early next week after a debate.
Dalit groups under the banner of the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha (AIAM) have given a call for Bharat bandh on August 9 to press for their demands. Hailing the Centre’s decision, Paswan said his party had faith and confidence in the government of bringing the bill as no one wanted the bandh to happen again. He maintained that there was a country-wide resentment among the Dalits, SC and ST communities against the apex court verdict, and there was apprehension that the agitation on August 9 could once again lead to unrest.
The Bharat Bandh call given on April 10 following the court ruling had witnessed violent incidents in various parts of the country and had claimed about nine lives. “We had appealed that the Act should be restored to its pre-SC verdict and we are thankful that government has decided to do so,” Paswan, who is the Lok Janshakti Party’s parliamentary board chairman, said. The LJP, an NDA constituent, had earlier threatened an agitation if the act was not restored to its original state, holding that since the SC order, number of FIRs against offenders had come down. The party had even demanded an ordinance.
He said the Centre’s move to bring the amendment bill has also silenced the opposition who had been misleading the people about the NDA government’s commitment to the dalit cause. Asked about the government’s decision to appoint retired SC judge AK Goel — one of the judges of the two member bench to pass the verdict on the SC/ST Act — as the head of the National Green Tribunal, Paswan said the matter should now be put to rest as the decision has been made to restore the act.
“I have no personal grudges against him, though there was resentment after the order was passed. But when the verdict has been rejected by the government, his appointment is not an issue now,” he said.
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