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Amid Dalit anger, Narendra Modi speaks out on Ambedkar, takes dig at Congress | India News

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NEW DELHI: Even as parts of India are on the boil due to Dalit anger over a Supreme Court ruling diluting the SC/ST Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made came out and said his government is “walking on the path shown by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar”, a Dalit icon.

He also took a dig at the Congress, by saying “no other government has done as much as we have in honouring Ambedkar”, who’s also the father of the Constitution.

“At the core of Dr. Ambedkar’s ideals is peace and togetherness. Working for the poorest of the poor is our mission,” said PM Modi at an event today, reported ANI.

This is the first time the PM has spoken directly on the issue,even though his party colleagues have made several statements about their disagreement with the Supreme Court order and about their govrnment’s commitment to the welfare of the Dalits.

This, even as the opposition Congress criticised them, with party president Rahul Gandhi saying, “Keeping Dalits at the lowest rung of Indian society is in the DNA of the RSS/BJP”.

About this comment of Rahul’s on Monday, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad had strong words. ik

The BJP-led Centre on Monday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court asking for a stay on their ruling from last month which dilutes the SC/ST Act. The top court lruled that instead of an immediate arrest in a case of alleged harassment, a preliminary inquiry must first be conducted by police within seven days of an incident before taking any action.

The Centre petitioned the court on a day that Dalits throughout the country protested out on the streets. In some places these demomstrations turned violent, and in all nine people were killed in clashes that were sparked by the protests.

Speaking for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal told an SC bench headed by Justice A K Goel today that there is an emergency situation in the country as thousands of people have come out on the streets to protest the changed provisions of the Act. Therefore, he said, it is necessary to stay the verdict to maintain law and order.

The apex court yesterday refused to stay its order but said it will reconsider it at a hearing after 10 days. It alse asked the various parties to file their written submissions within two days.

The top court also said the judgment in no way dilutes any provision of the SC/ST Act.

“The SC/ST Act is a substantive law and we have just asked that implementation of it would require adherence to procedural law as given in criminal procedure code,” the bench elaborated.

In its March 20 ruling, the apex court said public servants can’t be prosecuted without the approval of the appointing authority, and private citizens too should be arrested only after an inquiry under the law. It further ruled that preliminary inquiry in a case under the Act would be conducted by the Deputy Superintendent of Police to ensure the allegations are not frivolous.

The coutr said its amendment to the law was a bid to protect honest public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act.

Alluding to the Dalit agitation, the top court today remarked that those who protested had not read the judgment, and may have been “misled”.

Updated: April 4, 2018 — 8:07 am

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