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BSP chief Mayawati said Dalits and backward classes were being denied their rights under the BJP-led government while Congress president Rahul Gandhi charged that BJP was targeting Dalits.
“It is in the DNA of the RSS-BJP to keep Dalits at the lowest notch in Indian society. Those who challenge this thinking are hit by violence,” he said.
NDA ally and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan backed the protests, but lashed out at Rahul, saying he had no moral right to attack BJP over Dalit issues. He also slammed political parties for fuelling the protest. “Why are political parties getting involved? The SC order came as a shock to the community and the government has filed a review petition. There is no delay at all. The government is committed to protecting the rights of SCs/STs,” he said.
Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Left parties also supported the Dalit protests. Banerjee tweeted, “We are shocked and pained that some of my Dalit brothers and sisters have been killed and injured. We support their cause. I appeal for peace.”
Yechury referred to past instances of atrocities against Dalits and said, “From Rohith Vemula to Una flogging and destruction of Ambedkar statues, we have seen how this government has dealt with issues pertaining to Dalits. RSS-BJP ideology has been the driving force in targeting of Dalits.”
Junior minister for water resources Arjun Meghwal said, “Speaking of DNA, it is important to remind what Rahul Gandhi’s DNA is about – humiliated Babasaheb (Ambedkar) not once but twice. Did not give a Bharat Ratna to Babasaheb. Did not even give space for a portrait in Parliament.”