SC ruling on SC/ST Act in society’s interest: Union Minister

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Lucknow, April 3 (IANS) Union minister Giriraj Singh on Tuesday defended the Supreme Court order on the amendment of certain sections of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, saying it is in the interest of society.

Talking to media persons in Varanasi, the Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises also suggested that the opposition, especially the Congress, should not try and fish in choppy waters.

“The decision of the apex court is in interest of the society and it is the duty of the Congress and opposition that they do nothing to disturb harmony and peace in the society,” he said.

He also pointed out that the Congress did not have any right to even utter a word about Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, as the grand old party never accorded him the respect and honour he deserved.

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Singh stressed that the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was “200 per cent” committed to the safety and security of the SC/ST communities.

“It is our commitment to safeguard the interests of the people from these castes,” he said explaining that the Union government had in any case filed a review petition in the apex court seeking review of its decision.

“This would have been done earlier (filing of review petition), but for the four days’ holidays which delayed the process,” the minister stated.

Another BJP ally — Suhaildev Bahujan Samaj Party (SBSP) — also seems to be thinking on the same lines. Om Prakash Rajbhar, the SBSP chief and a Cabinet Minister, also said that for more than a decade he had been seeking the amendments which the Supreme Court ruled on March 20.

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“While we are all to ensure safety and security of the marginalised people of the SC and ST sections of the society, we also want to ensure that like the Dowry Act, the SC/ST Act to prevent atrocities against them is not misused to victimise the people of other castes,” he said.

On March 20, the apex court had ruled that government servants should not be arrested under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act without prior sanction and even private citizens can be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.

This triggered political upheaval and social unrest in many parts of the country that claimed nine lives, while in Uttar Pradesh, one person was killed and more than 100 injured during the “Bharat Bandh” on Monday.

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–IANS

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