Minister for special Parliament session to strengthen SC/ST Act

Minister for special Parliament session to strengthen SC/ST Act

Public Works Minister H C Mahadevappa said that the ongoing protests against the Supreme Court judgement on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which has resulted in violence in the northern states, is a national issue.

The Centre should convene a special session of the Parliament to strengthen the Act in the interest of Dalits, who are the original inhabitants of the nation.

Addressing a media conference, here, on Wednesday, he said, "At least 25% of the population of India are Dalits. The efforts of the successive governments, so far, to bring them to the mainstream are yet to yield results. The Act is concerned with the human dignity of Dalits. Hence, the judgement of the SC on March 20 and recent reluctance to review its judgement is a shock to all the Dalits across the nation. Hence, the Centre should take all political parties into confidence and bring the Act out of the ambit of the judiciary. The Parliament is supreme in a democracy."

"I have nothing to comment on the judiciary. But it is the responsibility of the Parliament to safeguard the interest of the people. All Dalits in India, all those who respect peace and integrity, all those who respect human dignity and all those who respect constitutional values should unite to strengthen the Act. They should prevail upon the Centre to strengthen the Act," he said.

'Centre not bothered'

Pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not spoken anything about the recent developments, even though violence is ruling the nation, Mahadevappa said that it seems that the PM has approval for the court's judgement. "Silence is a sign of approval. Fortunately, there has been no violence in Karnataka and the rest of the southern states, but, students have been fasting in Mysuru and other places since five days, demanding justice. However, the Centre seems to be not bothered about all this," he said.

"The silence of the leaders concerned will give a wrong message to the people. People will be forced to believe that the Centre is planning to change the Constitution as the Union minister, Ananth Kumar Hegde, has already made his intentions public," Mahadevappa added.

"BJP president Amit Shah has been tweeting on the violence in the nation, which has caused the death of 11 Dalits. However, tweets and SMSes are not a solution to any problem. I don't deny that there has been a misuse of the Act. But they are only stray cases. To safeguard a few individuals, the Act need not be weakened. The truth will prevail following investigations," he said.

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