NDA ally and Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan on Sunday targeted Uddhav Thackeray, chief of another NDA ally Shiv Sena, over his criticism in party mouthpiece Saamana of the government’s Bill to overturn a Supreme Court order on the law against atrocities on Dalits, saying it reeks of anti-Dalit and anti-backward mentality.
The Union Cabinet last week decided to approve a Bill restoring original provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The LJP and various other Dalit MPs of BJP had demanded that the Act be restored.
After a Supreme Court order in March made changes in the provisions of the Act, Dalit organisations had staged a nationwide agitation on April 2 and threatened of a similar agitation on August 9.
According to a PTI report, Uddhav had in a signed article in Saamana targeted the Modi government after it approved a Bill to restore the original provisions of a law on atrocities against Dalits and tribals. Discussion on that Bill is likely to be held in Parliament on Monday.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Paswan said that he condemns Thackeray’s comments.
“Such a statement is a reflection on an anti-Dalit, anti-tribal and anti-backward mentality,” Paswan said. The LJP said such a Bill is very much in line with the Constitution which sought to give equal dignity to all people. Paswan said the Bill is “historic” and a “slap” on the face of those who accused the Modi government of being “anti-Dalit”.
Paswan tweeted, “LJP and Dalit Sena strongly condemn the statement of Shiv Sena President Sh Uddhav Thackeray in which he has described the decision of Modi Govt to strengthen the Dalit Act as a step towards division of society.”
“It is a very sorry state of affairs that a leader belonging to the birth place and land of action of Baba Saheb Ambedkar is not having the knowledge of the Constitution,” he said.
The Union minister also said that before making such statements, Uddhav should have consulted the Dalit MPs of Shiv Sena on the issue.
“I have spoken to Shiv Sena MP (from Amaravati) Sh Anandrao Adsul who belongs to Scheduled Caste and he said that he completely agrees with me and the government’s decision. He said that possibly Sh Uddhav Thackeray may not be having knowledge of this Act,” Paswan posted on Twitter. — PTI inputs