PM Modi finally breaks silence on the Dalit issue

Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the crowd during a Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Hyderabad, on Sunday. Aug 7, 2016.  PTI Photo

Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the crowd during a Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Hyderabad, on Sunday. Aug 7, 2016. PTI Photo

In an apparent attempt to reach our to the Dalit community in the wake of the Una flogging incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally broke his silence on the subject to condemn atrocities on Dalits.

“If you want to attack, attack me, not my Dalit brothers. If you want to shoot, shoot me, not my Dalit brothers, stop politics over Dalits. This game should stop,” PM Modi said in aggressive speech while addressing a public meeting of polling booth workers of BJP at a “Maha Sammelan” at Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad.

The Prime Minister’s statement comes at a time when the NDA government is facing severe flak over incidents of violence against Dalits and Muslims by cow vigilantes.

“What is the reason? Why are Dalits being attacked?,” PM Modi questioned.

He also said that it was the responsibility of everybody to protect, give security and respect to Dalits, the oppressed and the exploited.

“This is a crime against humanity. The society would not be and should not be allowed to be divided in the name of caste, community and traditions. No ‘shastra’ (science) gives permission for this,” the PM said in his speech.

Recently the Parliament too has witnessed stormy scenes over the issue. BSP chief Mayawati accused PM Modi of being apathetic to the concerns of the community because he chose to stay mum on the issue.

However, without naming opposition parties, Modi said, “I know why a storm is being created against us these days. Because, these people believed they are the owners of Dalit vote. Dalit community is in their pocket…They fear that if Dalits understood the welfare measures initiated for them by the BJP-led government, this party (BJP) cannot be removed (from power) for 50 years, and it would end their divisive politics.”

Condemning atrocities on Dalits as a shameful, the PM said, “bad things and shortcomings” have been creeping into the society for centuries and they continue even 70 years after the Independence and sometimes manifest themselves in “ugly form”.

He then urged BJP workers to expose those who indulge in dividing the unity of the country and the society.

“Those who want solution to this problem, I pray to them to desist from the path of politics of creating division in the society”, PM Modi appealed.

PM Modi also lashed out at cow vigilantes or the “fake cow protectors”. He denounced them for the second straight day for trying to create “tension and conflict” in the society. He also called for stringent action against them.

On Monday at a townhall meet in Delhi, the PM had hit out against cow vigilantes for the first time. For weeks the Opposition had been taking potshots at him for keeping silent on the issue.

(With inputs from PTI)