5 Questions: After Narendra Modi came to power, atrocities against Dalits have gone up, says Suresh Kodikkunnil

Suresh Kodikkunnil, Congress MP from Mavelikkara in Kerala, tells The Indian Express why he raised the issue of the four Dalits assaulted in Gujarat.

Written by Liz Mathew | Published: July 21, 2016 4:07:26 am

While raising the issue, you said such incidents have been on the rise in BJP-ruled states. Why?

Yes. After Narendra Modi came to power, atrocities against Dalits have gone up. If you look at the data, incidents of rape and violence against Dalits are on the rise in the BJP-ruled states. In Gujarat, there is an emergency like situation; Dalit youths are committing suicides because they feel that the government will not protect them. Unfortunately, the police always takes the culprits’ side. Look at the incident of a Dalit girl in Haryana. She was gangraped for the second time in three years, because her family refused to reach a compromise with the accused, who had been jailed previously. This shows poor policing.

You also accused the RSS of playing a role in it?

The RSS is trying to make India Dalit-mukt Bharat. It was always an upper caste dominated party, which did not want Dalits around. In BJP-ruled states, they have saffronised the police too, as a result of which, victims don’t get justice and are instead harassed by the police.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a series of schemes and initiatives for Dalits?

The speeches expressing affection and concern for the Dalits are only for votes. With the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections in the offing, they just want to lure Dalits. But once they come to power, they treat Dalits as untouchables. Look at the government; Dalit representation is very poor. They have only one cabinet minister and the junior ministers are for namesake. If you look at the last budget, you can see that the allocation for SCs and the special component for the STs has come down.

Do you think state governments are not doing enough?

The state government (Gujarat) has not yet imposed provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the accused. This is because the police wants to give the culprits a chance to escape.

What do you want the government to do?

We have demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee should be formed and sent to Gujarat. The Speaker can constitute the committee. Dalits in the state have lost faith in the system there. We need to find out the truth.

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