The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Monday gave an ultimatum to the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to withdraw cases filed during the Bharat bandh in April over “dilution” of SC/ST Act 1989. On failing to do so, the party said, it would “reconsider its decision” to give outside support to the ruling party in the states.
The Congress only recently took the reins of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan after wresting the states from the BJP in Assembly Elections. However, with Congress falling short of the majority in Madhya Pradesh, the BSP, with Mayawati at its helm, offered support to the party. It also gave outside support to the grand old party in Rajasthan.
Now, the BSP has put forth a condition to continue the possibility of the alliance. According to the press release by the party, the BSP has demanded “cases filed during the ‘Bharat bandh’ held on 2 April 2018 for SC/ST Act 1989 in Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh be withdrawn. If these demands are not met, we’ll reconsider our decision to give outside support to Congress,” ANI quoted it as saying.
In April this year, Dalit groups across the country held a nationwide protest against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court, which witnessed massive violence in different parts of the country leading to the death of nine people.
In a ruling on March 20, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, citing “instances of abuse” of the Act by “vested interests” for political or personal reasons, laid down guidelines for arrests under the Act “to avoid false implications”. Following protests, the Union Cabinet in August this year approved an amendment to The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to undo the ‘dilution’ of the law by the top Court.