Free Press Journal

Oppn accuses govt of giving raw deal to dalits


New Delhi: Opposition members today accused the government of giving a raw deal to dalits saying the suicide by Rohith Vemula of Hyderabad University is a glaring example in this regard. Participating in the discussion on Demand for Grants of Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in Lok Sabha, they claimed that the ruling dispensation only paid lip service to B R Ambedkar and his ideals at a time when atrocities on dalits are growing. Initiating the discussion, Santokh Singh Chowdhury (Congress) said Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have launched ‘Swacchata Abhiyan’ (cleanliness campaign) with much fanfare, but has ignored the plight of the scavengers.

He claimed that still lakhs of scavengers are forced to clean unhygienic toilets as the government has earmarked a mere Rs 10 crore for helping them. Dalit students are not getting scholarships for higher education as the scheme of post-matric scholarships is not properly implemented, Chowdhury said. Vemula’s suicide speaks volumes of the way dalits are treated in the education system, he said.

Making a veiled attack on RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat for his remarks advocating a review of the reservation system, the Congress MP said, “The remote that runs the government speaks of review of reservation which is a matter of serious concern.” Expressing concern over growing atrocities on dalits, he wanted the Centre to monitor the schemes for the welfare of weaker sections.

Hukmdev Narayan Yadav (BJP) said people with feudal mindset are agitated as the Prime Minister comes from a backward caste. He alleged that Congress never allowed any backward caste people to rise to hold the reins of the Prime Minister. “Congress has always shown bioscope to the backward caste people,” Yadav said, as he demanded setting up of a separete Ministry for Other Backward Classes (OBC). He said in order to free the country from the shackles of caste system, there is a need for grooming people’s mindset towards inter-caste marriage.

Saumitra Khan (TMC) said there was a need to set up Navodaya Vidyalayas in SC, ST dominated areas. He said there was also a need for providing proper education facilities as well as well drinking water facilities to such areas. Balabhadra Majhi (BJD) said there is no accurate data of number of SCs and STs available with the government. “Government has not thought much about how to uplift SC, ST, OBCs. They are working just like the previous UPA Government,” he said. Contending that there are no good schools or colleges in the SC, ST dominated areas in Odisha, Majhi said reservation at work place does not work till there is proper education provided to such people.