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Dalits Hold Protest At Jantar Mantar Demanding Undiluted SC/ST Atrocity Law

The agitators were addressed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and others.

New Delhi: Dalit organisations held a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and accused the Centre of trying to suppress their agitation.

The protest — ‘Sinha Garjna’ — organised under the banner of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act Protection Committee received support from different political and social organisations.

The agitators were addressed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and others.

At the protest, Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having an “anti-Dalit” mindset, and asserted that a government for the welfare of the weaker sections will be formed in 2019 following the BJP’s defeat

Dalits are being openly beaten and crushed in states where the BJP is in power, Gandhi said.

Prominent Madiga community leader from Telangana, Manda Krishna Madiga, who organised the event, accused the Centre of adopting an “indifferent attitude” towards the Dalits.

The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) also extended its support to the two-day protest meeting that started yesterday and it was attended by the party’s Delhi minister Rajendra Pal Gautam.

“Dalits are natives of this land who can achieve power through unity as a majority of the country’s population was scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes,” Gautam said.

National Confederation of Dalit Organisations accused the NDA government of trying to “suppress” the agitation by dalits.

Rajya Sabha MP Hanumantha Rao, AAP legislator Sandip Kumar and various social outfits including Bhairchra Samiti and Balmiki Samaj, also attended the two-day protest.

A bill to overturn a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under the SC/ST laws was unanimously passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill 2018 rules out any provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs, notwithstanding any court order.

It also provides that no preliminary enquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under this law would not be subject to any approval.

Several Dalit groups have voiced their protest against the Supreme Court ruling of March 20, saying the law against atrocities faced by the weakest sections of the society was “diluted” by putting additional safeguards against arrest of the accused.

Some Dalit groups are still protesting, demanding further protection for the act by putting it in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution, release of leaders who were arrested under criminal charges after the Bharat Bandh held in April and the arrest of all those involved in atrocities against Dalits.




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