Congress asks PM to dismiss minister over ‘anti-Dalit’ remark

New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) Strongly condemning union minister V.K. Singh’s remark on the burning alive of two toddlers from a Dalit family in Haryana, the Congress on Thursday demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack the minister with immediate effect.

“We demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately sack his minister (V.K. Singh) if he slightly disagrees with his comments,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters here.

Reacting to the killing, Singh, a former army chief, on Thursday drew an analogy that if someone threw stones at a dog, the government was not responsible. Later, the minister came out with a clarification, saying he did not intend to draw a comparison.

The Congress also sought registration of a criminal case against the former army chief under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Surjewala said the remark made by the minister reflected “anti-Dalit, anti-backward and anti-poor mindsets” of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Pointing to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s alleged pitch for a review of reservation policy, the Congress said neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor BJP president Amit Shah had condemned the “anti-reservation remark of their coach”.

The Congress spokesperson also accused the Modi government of being anti-Dalit, saying the central government had slashed the budget for scheduled castes by Rs.19,734 crore in 2015-16. It was Rs.50,548 crore during 2014-15.

Surjewala said the Congress in 2014 brought an amendment ordinance to strengthen the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which would help control such heinous crimes against the Dalits.

But the Modi government made no effort to amend the Act according to the ordinance provisions, he alleged.

Surjewala also demanded the prime minister to not only condemn the RSS chief’s remark but also issue a strong warning about not making any more anti-Dalit and anti-backwards remarks.

The Congress also demanded the removal of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju for his comments on the people of north India.”I was witness to a statement made by one of Delhi’s former Lt. Governors. He had stated that people of north India enjoy breaking the rules and by evening he was forced to apologise. But I believe what he said was right,” Rijiju said on Wednesday.

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