BJP allies welcome bill on Dalit atrocities law


Representational Photo

Representational Photo

BJP allies and the party’s Dalit leaders hailed on Aug 1, 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Union Cabinet gave its nod to a bill to overturn a Supreme Court order on a law on atrocities against Dalits with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan terming the decision “historic”.

RLSP chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha said the bill underlined Modi’s commitment to giving justice to the deprived and exploited sections of society.

It is a big decision, he said.

Chirag Paswan, LJP chief’s son, who had said his party’s workers may join nation-wide protests called by Dalit groups on August 9, expressed his thanks to the prime minister.

BJP allies like the Lok Janshakti Party and the RLSP had demanded a bill to overturn the March 20 order of the apex court which, they said, had diluted the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and rendered it toothless.

Briefing reporters about the Cabinet’s decision, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said it is a “historic” decision and showed the pro-Dalit credentials of the Modi government.

Asked about another demand of his party that National Green Tribunal Chairman Justice A K Goel, who was one of the two judges who had given the verdict, be sacked, he said “all issues are closed” now as bringing the bill was the main demand.

BJP MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj said it was a welcome decision.

The Union Cabinet on Aug 1, 2018 approved Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill to restore original provisions of the atrocities law, a move seen as a reach-out by the BJP-led NDA government to Dalits days ahead of their proposed August 9 nationwide protest with this key demand.