New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Even as the opposition parties trained their guns at the BJP for the anti-Dalit violence in Gujarat, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday complimented the state government for acting swiftly.
Responding to the Congress members during the zero hour, Rajnath Singh said: “Gujarat government deserves all appreciation for the speedy and effective manner it acted after the incident.” He added that nine persons have been arrested in this connection.
“Of these, seven persons are in the judicial custody while two others are in the police custody. Moreover, the state government has suspended four police personnel, including an inspector, and also initiated disciplinary action for negligence of duty,” Singh said amid repeated protests from opposition members, including Congress floor leader Malikkarjun Kharge and Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Aadmi Party.
“Judging by the gravity of the crime, the state government has already ordered a probe by CID Crime Branch,” Rajnath Singh said.
He said the incident happened after a group of people attacked members of a Dalit family who were skinning a “dead cow”.
The Home Minister said the state government is also trying to set up a special court for speedy trial of the case.
“But the state needs to take the permission from the High Court in this connection,” he said.
Rajnath Singh said a special public prosecutor has been appointed and the state government intends to prepare a chargesheet against the wrongdoers within 60 days.
The Home Minister said crimes against the Dalits are “unfortunate” and reflect a “social evil”.
He appealed to the leaders of all opposition parties to accept it as a “challenge and unite” against such menace.
The Home Minister said soon after returning from foreign trip on July 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him to his residence and wanted to know details of the incident.
“The Prime Minister condemned the incident in strongest terms and I also found him in deep pain over the incident,” Rajnath Singh said.
He said there were hundreds of such attacks on the Dalits between 1991 and 1999, during the Congress rule. But the numbers “came down significantly after 2001 and the state government (under the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi) deserves to be complimented”.
The Congress members were not satisfied with the Home Minister’s reply and staged a walkout.
Amid noisy scenes, Congress leader Kharge wanted to know whether the government is ready to set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the matter. Since there was no response from the government, the Congress members walked out.
Kharge said, “Whenever we raise any issue, the union ministers start talking about 60 years of Indian history”.
Earlier, raising the matter, Kodikunnil Suresh of the Congress held the BJP government in Gujarat squarely responsible for the incident.
He alleged that atrocities against the Dalits have increased in BJP-ruled states, and added “RSS is trying to make a Dalit-free India”. Suresh also demanded a JPC to probe into the Gujarat incident.
The Trinamool Congress members also walked out of the house.