Minister targets opposition for inciting violence in Gujarat

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New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot on Thursday said violence erupted in Gujarat after the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha on July 18, indirectly blaming the opposition for it.

The minister, intervening in a discussion on the violence against the Dalits in the country, said the Gujarat government took action immediately after the incident.

“Incidents of violence against the Dalits are occurring despite all laws, which is sad,” Gehlot said.

He said an FIR was registered soon after the incident and the victims are going to get a compensation of “up to Rs 8.5 lakh”.

“The Gujarat incident, every one says, is sad. I go a step ahead and say it is condemnable,” Gehlot said.

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“But this incident was given political colour. In Karnataka, a Dalit officer committed suicide because of being troubled by the Home Minister there. Some people are talking about going to Gujarat… there is Congress government (in Karnataka) but BJP leaders did not go there,” Gehlot said.

He was apparently referring to Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Una.

In Karnataka, a Deputy Superintendent of Police committed suicide on July 7 after accusing a state minister and two senior police officers of hounding him.

“In Agra, a Dalit was beaten to death on the road, we did not go there to spoil the atmosphere,” the Gehlot said.

“In Kerala, a young woman named Jisha was raped and murdered. There was a Congress government then. We did not try to spoil the atmosphere… I was instructed by the Chairman so I went there, we did not go to spoil atmosphere,” he said.

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Gehlot indirectly blamed the opposition parties for inciting violence in Gujarat, and said the situation took such a turn after the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha.

“I want to ask the House, there was peace for four-five days. The Chief Minister met the victims, provided financial help. Here there was a discussion on (July) 18th, and on (July) 19th there was violence,” he said.

“If debate is done without knowing all facts, and for getting political benefit, it spreads rumours and creates an atmosphere of violence. There should be serious thought on what needs to be done,” the minister added.

The upper house took up the debate on violence after four Dalits were beaten up for allegedly skinning dead cattle. The debate saw the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha getting disrupted on Wednesday.

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