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Rahul Gandhi, BJP spar on ‘oppression of dalits’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi said today that the “oppression of Dalits is in the RSS’s and BJP’s DNA”, while the BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the Congress of “playing politics with BR Ambedkar”, the father of the Indian Constitution.

“Keeping Dalits at the lowest rung of Indian society is in the DNA of the RSS/BJP. Whoever dares challenge this position is suppressed with violence,” tweeted Rahul, even as a ‘Bharat Bandh’ is under way in the country to protest a ruling by the Supreme Court, which some say dilutes a law to protect Dalits.

“Thousands of my Dalit brothers and sisters have come out on the streets to demand protection of their rights from the (Narendra) Modi government. We (Congress and I) salute them,” tweeted Rahul further.

However, the BJP-led Centre today filed a review petition in the Supreme Court (SC) against the latter’s order there would be no automatic arrest on any complaint filed under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, said Doordarshan News.

The Centre’s petition was filed even as several organisations, with the support of some political parties, called a countrywide bandh today in protest against the SC order.

The SC last month ruled that a preliminary inquiry must be conducted by police within seven days of an alleged incident before taking any action. The Centre’s petition is expected to have told the top court that the order banning automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of SCs/STs will dilute the law which aims to protect the marginalised.

“Today a comprehensive review was filed by the government. I want to say humbly that we don’t agree with the SC’s reasoning behind the order,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union law minister.

The senior BJP leader then proceeded to target the Congress on the issue of Ambedkar, a Dalit icon.

“The Modi government and the BJP want to make one thing clear, that Dalit and Adivasi welfare is what we want, but some people are playing politics with Ambedkar,” said the BJP’s Prasad, targeting the Congress for staking claim to the Dalit icon’s memory.

“I want to ask the Congress – which is making all this noise – one question. ‘When did Ambedkar get the Bharat Ratna?’ I’ll tell you when he did. He got it during VP Singh’s time when BJP supported that government. Ambedkar died in 1956 and Congress was ruling for decades after that (with no Bharat Ratna for Ambedkar) and the Congress asks us questions?” said Prasad.

Updated: April 2, 2018 — 5:45 am

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