In a move that may cause further embarrassment to Narendra Modi and his party, his government on Wednesday rejected the Opposition’s demand for a Lok Sabha debate on the growing atrocity against Dalits particularly by right-wing gau-rakshak militants.
Quoting sources, Indian Express reported that the government had refused to list a debate in Wednesday’s Business Advisory Committee meeting despite a demand from a united opposition for it.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan appeared hell-bent on discussing the development issue and not attacks on Dalits.
Mahajan reportedly feared that the Opposition will make the issue as political.
The idea was mooted by TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee, who received instant support from some prominent MPs including Congress’s K C Venugopal, CPM’s Mohammad Salim and BJD’s Tathagata Satpathy.
LJP’s Chirag Paswan, himself a Dalit leader, too was present in the BAC meeting but he reportedly remained silent on the issue.
Congress’s Venugopal in the afternoon insisted for a minister to reply to the concerns expressed during the SDG discussion under Rule 193. Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai suggested that Minister for Planning Rao Inderjit Singh or Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu could reply.
However, when Rao said he will not be able to reply, it left Congress leader Veerappa Moily enraged. Moily along with BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab joined Venugopal.
Moily asked, “Where is the concerned Minister? There is absolutely no seriousness in the government on the issue.” He then suggested that the discussion be postponed until the minister comes to the House, .
The Una flogging, attacks on Dalits and Muslims by militants masquerading as cow-protectors was raised in the Lok Sabha by various Opposition MPs during zero hour in the last few days.
The issue has dominated the national politics for several days. Many believe that Anandiben Patel’s shocked resignation as Gujarat chief minister was related to public humiliation of Dalits in Una and the subsequent protests against the BJP.
In a massive rally held in Ahmedabad over the weekend, Dalit leaders warned that the saffron party will be taught a lesson in 2017, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab are scheduled to go for polls. All three states have sizeable Dalit population.