Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that his government will not let the law to prevent atrocities on SCs and STs to be diluted after the Supreme Court laid down new guidelines to prevent its misuse.
He also launched a no-holds-barred attack on the Congress, accusing it of spreading "lies" to create fissures.
"I want to assure the nation that the law which has been made stringent by us will not allowed to be affected (by the SC order)... Do not get trapped by the Congress and those parties who have surrendered to the Congress culture," he said at the inauguration of B R Ambedkar memorial here.
His remarks on the SC verdict and the resultant protests marred by violence assume significance as several opposition parties have accused the BJP and the government of being anti-Dalit.
He said in 2015, it was his government which included several new crimes under the ambit of the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. "From 22, the crimes to be covered under the law were increased to 47 by our government... We also enhanced the compensation to be aid to the victims," he said.
Modi said when the government amended the law, it allowed the provision of denial of interim bail to remain to ensure that it remains effective.
He said special courts are being set up to fast track disposal of cases against the SCs and the STs. "Our government has consistently tried to maintain social balance through the rule of law."
Modi said while the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on March 20, the government acted fast to file a review petition. He said people often wonder about the delay in moving the top court.
"But only a few know that there were public holidays in between. When I tell this to people, they realise how fast we acted," he said.
He also used the occasion to tear into the Congress alleging that it uses Ambedkar's name "out of compulsion" to further its political gains.
Modi said the Congress also spreads "lies" and rumours" to create fissures in the society.
He said the Congress is "creating obstacles" in the passage of a bill to grant constitutional status to the OBC Commission by not allowing Parliament to function.
He said the Congress only spreads rumours to create differences between brothers. "At times they spread rumour that reservation is being scraped. At times it relates to ending the law to prevent atrocities on the SCs and the STs... They never believed in Ambedkar's ideology... They use his name out of compulsion to gain votes," he said.
He accused the Congress to insulting Ambedkar when he was alive and continuing to do so even after his death.
Modi gave several examples to underline that Congress was not fond of Ambedkar as he refused to "bow before the Congress ecosystem".
He said the Dalit icon was not made part of any Cabinet committee, and not allowed to win Lok Sabha elections by the Congress. He said the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru campaigned against him and Ambedkar had to face the "humiliation" of being defeated twice in elections.
Modi pointed out that it was Shyama Prasad Mookerjee who helped Ambedkar get entry in the Rajya Sabha.
He said Ambedkar was denied a portrait in the Central Hall of Parliament and lack of space was cited as the reason.
"Though leaders such as Rajiv Gandhi were honoured with Bharat Ratna, Ambedkar got it when VP Singh was the prime minister and BJP was a constituent... He was not a BJP member... Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani pushed for a Bharat Ratna award for him...," Modi said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)