Cong dubs 'discriminatory' order on Dalit marriages in MP

Cong dubs 'discriminatory' order on Dalit marriages in MP

Image used for representational purpose.

Seeking to put the BJP in a spot over Dalit issues in the run-up to Karnataka polls, the Congress on Saturday latched on to an administrative order in Ujjain that mandated a three-day notice to the police about any wedding in a Dalit family.

Terming it an attack on constitutional rights as well as on basic dignity of any human being, party spokesperson P L Punia, a Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh, charged it is a move that further “discriminates, isolates and terrorises” an already marginalised community.

Accusing the Modi government of pursuing policies that reek of “social oppression” and “violate rights of weaker sections”, Punia said keeping in mind functioning of the central government for last four years, “people of Karnataka will resoundingly reject the BJP and its policies”.

The trigger for the Congress' all-out attack on the government was a “precautionary” order issued by authorities in Mahidpur tehsil of Ujjain district, which asked sarpanches and panchayat secretaries to inform police three days in advance if there is a wedding in a Dalit family in villages under their jurisdiction. Authorities cited a recent flare-up between Dalits and forward castes in the region as the motive behind the “precautionary” measure.

The Congress, however, questioned what the police would do.

What can the police do?

“Will it ensure that the Dalits behave themselves by not being overtly celebratory? Will it ensure that the roads are cleared so that a Dalit does not inadvertently touch or spite an upper caste person? Or will it ensure that the Dalit groom sits on a horse only after paying a hefty bribe?” Punia asked.

The Congress spokesperson also reeled out figures to claim that there has been a “massive cut” in spending on empowerment of Scheduled Castes and huge backlogs in appointments of Dalits in government jobs.

He also referred to five Dalit MPs of the BJP from Uttar Pradesh having publicly expressed their unhappiness over the treatment meted out to Dalits under the present dispensation.