New Delhi, April 16 (PTI): The Congress said on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “backstabbed” the nation on his promise to not allow the dilution of a law that prevents atrocities on SCs and STs as his party’s government in Chhattisgarh was implementing the “diluted” version of the Act.
The Congress also said that if the ruling BJP was sincere towards the welfare of Dalits, it should immediately bring an ordinance to prevent the alleged dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
On Friday at the inauguration of B R Ambedkar memorial in New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi asserted he would not allow the Act to be diluted after the Supreme Court laid down new guidelines to prevent the law’s misuse.
The Supreme Court on March 20 “diluted” the provisions of the Act, ruling that government servants should not be arrested without prior sanction and private citizens, too, can be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.
The Centre has told the apex court its judgement on the Act has “diluted” the provisions of the law, resulting in “great damage” to the country, and steps may be taken to correct it. But Chhattisgarh government has reportedly allowed the implementation of the new guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.
Congress spokesperson P L Punia said the Chhattisgarh government has implemented the “diluted” version of the Act and other states would soon follow. “Why the central government did not do what was required. Why the ordinance has not been issued,” he asked.
He alleged that the BJP has an “anti-Dalit” mindset. “Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has backstabbed the nation on his promise of not diluting the SC/ST Act, 1989,” he said.
“BJP now totally stands exposed on the SC/ST Act as it is now implementing the diluted Act in Chhattisgarh, despite PM Modi promising that his government will not allow any dilution,” he told reporters.
Punia said even as the Modi government tried to wriggle out of the situation by suggesting to bring an ordinance to correct the Supreme Court judgement, the BJP government in Chhattisgarh was implementing the diluted version promising disciplinary action against those who do not implement the new guidelines.
“This is a clear case of the BJP’s unabashed double-speak, duplicity and deceit,” he said. Punia said the Additional DG, CID, Chhattisgarh, in a circular has directed the state police to implement the “diluted” version of the SC/ST Act.
The Dalit Congress leader also said that the prime minister was “totally silent” on bringing the ordinance. “We had demanded legislative intervention in this matter. But the prime minister is totally silent. The BJP has betrayed the Dalit community by not bringing the ordinance, which should be brought immediately,” he said.
He alleged that under BJP’s watch, “a Dalit suffers an atrocity every 12 minutes, and every day 6 Dalit women are raped” according to the National Crime Records Bureau data.