ALLEGING THAT incidents of violence reported during Bharat bandh Monday was “politically inspired”, Mayawati warned the Centre that Dalits and BSP would not tolerate if a move was made to weaken the rights of the community by taking the help of courts.
In a statement issued during the bandh called by Dalit groups, Mayawati accused the government of not presenting facts in court. “I had said this many times that a review petition should be filed by the Centre, but they delayed it. Because of this, the Dalit and Aadivasi communities felt that the government perhaps does not want to take a step… and that is why today they called the Bharat bandh… If the government had taken a step in time, this would not have happened. Also, if the government had presented facts in court and sent a better lawyer to fight the case, the SC wouldn’t have taken this decision,” she said.
Mayawati was referring to the Supreme Court’s March 20 order in which it had banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,1989.
“I want to tell the government that your attitude towards Dalits and the oppressed is not right. If you did not leave your apathy and casteist thinking and inferior behaviour towards them… and if you try to abuse and weaken the rights provided to them by the efforts of Baba Sahab Bhim Rao Ambedkar… (by) taking the help of courts or using other tricks or keeping in front the RSS people… neither Dalits nor our party is going to tolerate it,” she said.
“The original structure of the Act was changed by the Supreme Court… Since the judgment came, people have raised their voice… I even sent a press note and also spoke to the media… All Dalits, either belonging to different unions and parties or not… were sad and frustrated. They kept raising their voice, asking the central government to take a step… but it did not take any initiative,” Mayawati said.
“During today’s bandh, some casteist and anti-social elemets mixed with the protesters, leading to violence… life and property have been damaged and the party strongly condemns it…,” she added.
Demanding strict action against those who spread violence, Mayawati said: “Casteist elements… in the garb of seeking rights for Dalits and tribals are trying to use them as sacrificial lambs… our party won’t tolerate it and stay silent.”
Alleging that the Centre was “anti-Dalit and anti-tribals”, she alleged that its narrow minded, caste-based temperament and wrong doings are responsible for such protests. “Because of their same poisonous, casteist thinking and work culture, crores of people from Dalit and backward classes are not being able to get their legal and constitutional rights… In the matter of Dalits and adivasis, the demeanour of the BJP government is casteist and inferior and threatens to return to the dark age of slavery… I can feel this happening,” Mayawati said.
Thanking those who participated in the protest and assuring people that BSP will continue its “struggle”, she said: “So what if we are not in the Parliament? Our politics and struggle outside Parliament will keep forcing the Modi government to bend its knees… like it had to take back its decision in the matter of land acquisition of farmland.”
Mayawati accused the Centre of keeping pending a Constitution amendment Bill related to reservation in promotions. “…While the Bill has been passed in Rajya Sabha, the Modi government was not getting it passed in the Lok Sabha… Dalit MPs and ministers and BJP were maintaining silence on the matter for the last four years… This show that Modi government has anti-Dalit mentality and policy, which is against the country and the Constitution,” she added.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said the Centre should have spoken speak to the representatives of Dalits. “Lack of communication led to the agitation. It is unfortunate that people have to hold agitation for their rights and honour,” he said while appealing to the Dalits community to keep patience.