May 18, 2017 6:36:36 am
Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale, Republican Party of India (A) leader, said Wednesday he will ask Home Minister Rajnath Singh to issue directions to all states to prevent instances of atrocities against Dalits like those in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Rohtak in Haryana.
Athawale added that he will personally write to all state governments that they should appoint an additional police force in all districts that see high incidence of atrocities against Dalits.
“This would act as a preventive measure,” Athawale said. “Often, police stations are low on manpower. This is the reason why, whenever there is a complaint by Dalits about them facing threats, the police ignore the complaint. After the atrocity happens, about 100 policemen are deployed for a year or so. If every state puts in place a special mechanism to deal with the cases, the rate will come down,” Athawale said.
In the case of the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old Dalit girl in Rohtak, the police had failed to act on a complaint filed by the victim’s family a month earlier about how the accused was pressuring and threatening the girl for marriage.
“During Shivaji Maharaj’s time, the practice was to break the arms and legs of people committing such crimes. Now we have the death penalty for the rapists [in the December 16 gangrape case] but even that doesn’t act as a deterrent,” said Athawale who went on to attribute the growing number of such cases to increasing drug abuse by the youth.
Both UP and Haryana have BJP governments in power; Athwale said such incidents had happened also during the Samajwadi Party’s reign in UP. “We would like to tell those who are living in fear that they needn’t worry as our government is in power in these states,” he said.
“Both Ambedkar and Maharana Pratap are national icons. Both should be celebrated,” added Athawale in a reference to the Saharanpur incident.
In Saharanpur, 22 Dalit homes were torched and 15 Dalits had to be admitted to the hospital after a clash broke out between them and members of the Thakur community over a procession that the latter wanted to take in honour of Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. The Dalits were reportedly upset about an earlier incident when they had been prevented from installing an Ambedkar statue in the village.
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