SC/ST Bill passed in LS ‘under pressure’: Mayawati

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LUCKNOW, Aug 7 (PTI): BSP president Mayawati on Tuesday welcomed the passage of The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, even while saying that this happened “under pressure” ahead of the elections.

The bill overturns a Supreme Court order concerning safeguards against arrests under the SC/ST law.

“Though the bill in this regard, brought after a lot of delay with an eye on the coming elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan was passed by the Lok Sabha, we hope that it will also be passed by the Rajya Sabha,” the BSP president said in a statement.

The BSP supremo gave credit for the passage of the bill to the pressure built by the SC/ST communities, including her party men who participated in the April 2 Bharat Bandh.

She attacked the Dalit and adivasi ministers and the ruling party MPs, saying they had remained silent on the issue but started shedding crocodile tears as the Lok Sabha elections are drawing near.

Without taking names, the BSP leader criticised Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

She said one such minister, who forged alliances with different parties in every election, was forced to announce a sit-in to compel the government to act against the dilution of the SC/ST Act by the Supreme Court.

The BSP president said her party has always been in favour of reservation for the poor from the upper castes, Muslims and other minority groups, and would extend support if the government brings a constitutional amendment bill on this.

The amendment bill passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday removes the safeguards ordered by the top court on March 20.

It provides that no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest of a government employee under this law would not be subject to any approval from the appointing authority.

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