Dalit activists want withdrawal of cases

Dalit activists want withdrawal of cases

Dalit activists on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of cases lodged against the community members.

A nationwide protest was launched against the Supreme Court's verdict on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe (prevention of atrocities) Act last year as the BJP tried to reach out to them ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

Speaking at a national convention organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Chamar Mahasangh (ABCM), the activists made a vociferous demand for the release of all those arrested by police in connection with the protest in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and other states last year, and a compensation of Rs 50 lakh each to the dependents of those killed during the protest.

BJP's Rajya Sabha member Satyanarayan Jatiya participated in the convention as its chief guest at a time his party is making a desperate bid to address the dalit anger, which could singe its poll prospects in Hindi heartland.

In both 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, the BJP got a substantial chunk of dalit votes in the key state, which sends 80 members to Lok Sabha. Of late, the saffron party has found itself at the wrong end of dalit politics.

It all started after a Supreme Court verdict last year, which had diluted the provisions of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act. Various dalit organizations held nationwide protests against the court's verdict on April 2 last year and Modi government on the issue. More than 10 persons were killed and several injured during the protest as it turned violent.

The Modi government later brought an amendment Bill in Parliament to nullify the Supreme Court's order. The bill was passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.