As BJP lawmakers visit Dalit homes to share meals with them, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Saturday said the political class should not patronise the community, and that “pitying Dalits is wrong”.
Speaking to reporters after attending a meeting in Mumbai, Paswan said, “The issue is not about eating food at anybody’s house. There is nothing wrong in it. But patronising and pitying Dalits is wrong.”
The minister said that eating at Dalit homes will not help eradicate untouchability. “The deep caste prejudices and social evils like untouchability cannot be wiped off by dining at Dalit homes,” he said. Referring to Lord Ram who had food at Shabari’s home, Paswan said such tokenism cannot eradicate caste biases.
Paswan went on to say that attacks on the Dalit community were undermining all policy changes being brought in by the government. “All the affirmative policies of prime minister Narendra Modi were being overshadowed because of such mindless incidents against Dalits,” he said.
Stressing on holistic development of Dalits, Paswan said, “The larger concern for Dalits relates to their holistic development. Focus should be to uproot the atrocities against Dalits. They should be provided better education and jobs.”
Asked about the growing resentment among Dalits and tribals over attacks and its impact on elections, Paswan said, “The BJP government has brought in pro-farmer reforms, complete with minimum support price mechanism.”