Prime Minister Narendra Modi today claimed no regime had honoured B R Ambedkar like his government had and took a dig at the Congress for always doing politics in the name of the Dalit icon but ignoring his contributions. The Prime Minister was seeking to reach out to the Dalit community days after the nation-wide Bharat Bandh protests, which saw 10 people lose their lives, over the supposed dilution of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, by the Supreme Court. Modi was not alone in BJP's outreach to Dalits with party president Amit Shah saying that the central government would neither scrap the policy of reservations for SC and ST communities in education and jobs nor allow anyone to do so.
Alleging that a "misinformation campaign" had been launched in the media and on social media that the BJP would withdraw reservations, Shah said, "I want to make it clear in this public meeting in the presence of so many people that the BJP will not withdraw reservations at all, nor will it allow anyone to do so."
The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of an annexe building at Western Court that acts as a transit accommodation for newly elected lawmakers. Modi said that his government had given Ambedkar his rightful place by completing projects conceived in his memory. Lamenting that everyone had dragged Ambedkar's name for political gains, Modi said that it was his government that had completed the Ambedkar International Centre.
Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah today said that the Opposition was responsible for the 10 lives lost during the Bharat Bandh protest. "BJP government will neither remove reservation nor will (it) let anyone end it," said Shah. The BJP President also addressed an OBC convention in Karnataka today. Yesterday, Shah had tweeted that PM Modi had met members of Parliament (MPs) belonging to SC communities and assured them that the Government is doing everything to protect the rights and well-being "of our Dalit sisters and brothers".
The Congress, for its part, on Wednesday said that the Modi government's "duplicity" over the Supreme Court's refusal to stay its ruling on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had been exposed.
While the political slugfest continued, protesters in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind torched a shop outside a municipal office and set a tyre on fire over the SC/ST Act protest. Curfew has been imposed in various areas of Gwalior, Bhind, and Morena districts in the state.
Here are the top ten developments regarding what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said about Dalit icon B R Ambedkar and the recent Bharat Bandh protests that have made BJP reach out to SC/ST communities:
1) Modi says no government has honoured Ambedkar like his: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought to reach out to the Dalit community and said that no regime had honoured B R Ambedkar like his government had. "No government has, perhaps, given respect to Babasaheb the way our government has. Instead of dragging him into politics, we should all try to walk on the path he has shown us...," Modi said.
Modi's remarks come soon after widespread protests, some that turned violent and led to the loss of 10 lives, in different parts of the country over a Supreme Court verdict putting in place safeguards to prevent misuse of a law to prevent atrocities of SCs and STs.
2) 'House where Ambedkar died to be dedicated to nation on April 13': Modi said that it was his government that had completed the Ambedkar International Centre, though the idea was conceived when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister. The 26, Alipur Road house where the Dalit icon died would be dedicated to the nation on April 13 on the eve of his birth anniversary, Modi said.
Lamenting that everyone had dragged Ambedkar's name for political gains, Modi hit out at the UPA and said that the previous government had dragged its feet on the project for years. "But we completed projects at stipulated time period," he said, noting that his government was committed to 'sabkasaathsabkavikas'.
3) Modi takes dig at Congress for ignoring Ambedkar's contributions: Prime Minister Modi took a dig at the Congress for always doing politics in the name of the Dalit icon but ignoring his contributions. Modi said that it was the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government that had decided to have two memorials for Ambedkar installed at two places in the capital. Without naming the Congress-led UPA, he said it could not happen as the governments that followed Vajpayee showed little interest and ignored Ambedkar and his contributions. "After that, the governments ran like that... Everybody is always ready to do politics in the name of Babasahib. But nobody gave him the kind of respect and paid tributes to him as much as this government did," the Prime Minister said.
ALSO READ: Bharat Bandh: Curfew to remain imposed in various parts of Madhya Pradesh
4) PM says his government is walking on Ambedkar's path: Modi said that his government was walking the path shown by Ambedkar and asked every political group to try and do the same for the country's development. "At the core of Ambedkar's ideals is harmony and togetherness. Working for the poorest of the poor is our mission."
Read our coverage on the SC/ST protests that gripped the nation: SC/ST protests: Now Bihar Dalit leader demands 'Harijanistan'; 10 updates
5) Amit Shah says BJP will neither abolish reservations nor allow anyone to do so: BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday said that the central government would neither scrap the policy of reservations for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities in education and jobs nor allow anyone to do so. Addressing a public meeting in Odisha, Shah said that "no one can dare to change" the reservation policy "as set by B R Ambedkar in the Constitution".
Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP president said, "We have full faith in the Constitution of India. There will not be slightest change in the reservation policy as set by B R Ambedkar in the Constitution. No one can dare to change it. The BJP will also not allow anyone to change the reservation policy.
6) Amit Shah blames Congress and Opposition for Bharat Bandh deaths: Amit Shah also held the Congress and other Opposition parties responsible for the deaths of nearly a dozen people in violence during the nationwide Bharat Bandh called by various Dalit outfits against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. "Why was the bandh call given when the prime minister assured the people that the Centre would submit a review petition on the Supreme Court judgement... Ten people died during the bandh. The Congress and other Opposition parties are responsible for the deaths of these 10 people," he said.
Read our coverage of the Dalit protests and how they progressed throughout the nation: Bharat Bandh: 9 dead, thousands arrested, 1,700 anti-riot personnel at work
Read our coverage of the Supreme Court's refusal to stay its order on the SC/ST Act: Supreme Court declines to keep in abeyance March 20 SC/ST verdict
8) Shop torched in MP over SC/ST Act protest: Meanwhile, the embers of the Bharat Bandh protest continue to burn. While curfew stands imposed in various areas of Gwalior, Bhind, and Morena districts, protesters in Bhind torched a shop outside a municipal office and set a tyre on fire. In the wake of the violence that prevailed due to the protest over SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, arms licenses have been suspended in some of the areas of Madhya Pradesh's Bhind district.
Speaking about the Bharat Bandh protests in Madhya Pradesh, Makrand Deuskar, IG Law & Order, told news agencies: "We have arrested 75 people from Gwalior, 50 from Bhind & 111 from Morena. We have not been able to arrest Raja Chauhan as yet. A total of 236 people have been arrested till now."
We have arrested 75 people from Gwalior, 50 from Bhind & 111 from Morena. We have not been able to arrest Raja Chauhan as yet. A total of 236 people have been arrested till now: Makrand Deuskar, IG Law & Order #MadhyaPradesh. #BharatBandh pic.twitter.com/gUf3tej7yv— ANI (@ANI) April 4, 2018
9) PM Modi met SC/ST MPs to assure them of government action: Amit Shah tweeted yesterday that PM Modi had met MPs belonging to the SC communities and assured them that his government was "doing everything to protect the rights and wellbeing of our Dalit sisters and brothers".
Shah had also tweeted that at every juncture and in all possible ways, the BJP stands shoulder to shoulder with the Dalit community. "Modi Government's commitment to fulfilling Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s vision is unwavering. All the efforts of the Government are aimed at transforming the lives of Dalits," added the BJP president.
PM @narendramodi met MPs belonging to the SC communities and assured them that the Government is doing everything to protect the rights and wellbeing of our Dalit sisters and brothers.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 3, 2018
At every juncture and in all possible ways, @BJP4India stands shoulder to shoulder with the Dalit community. Modi Government’s commitment to fulfilling Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s vision is unwavering. All the efforts of the Government are aimed at transforming the lives of Dalits.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 3, 2018
10) SC refuses to stay its order on SC/ST Act: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said those agitating against its March 20 order putting in place certain safeguards on arrests under the SC/ST Act may not have read the judgement or could have been misled by "vested interests", as it refused to keep in abeyance the verdict. The apex court, which entertained the Centre's review petition against the verdict, asserted that "no provisions of SC/ST Act have been diluted", while clarifying that additional safeguards had been put in place "to protect the fundamental rights" of innocents.
The top court said that the Centre's review petition will be considered in detail after ten days and the parties in the original case should file their written submissions in two days.
With agency inputs