The Maharashtra violence and alleged atrocities against Dalits rocked both Houses of Parliament and triggered political fireworks outside Parliament too on Wednesday, with the Congress-led Opposition attacking the ruling BJP and its ideological mentor RSS in this regard while targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “sustained silence” over the continuing atrocities against Dalits across the country.
Accusing the RSS and certain Hindutva outfits of allegedly sparking the caste violence in Pune’s Bhima-Koregaon that spread to other parts of the BJP-ruled Maharashtra, the Congress also demanded an inquiry by a Supreme Court judge into the episode.
Hitting back, the BJP charged the Congress with allegedly seeking to stoke the caste conflict and divide the people for political gains. In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, gunning for PM Modi and the BJP-RSS, said that the Bhima-Koregaon violence was the latest instance of atrocities against Dalits in the country, which, he added, included cases like the Una flogging and Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
Kharge said that the atrocities against Dalits has been on the rise in the country, alleging that such incidents have been occuring in the BJP-ruled states including Gujarat and Maharashtra. “The RSS and certain hardcore Hindutva outfits are behind the Bhima-Koregaon violence. They are trying to drive a wedge between the Marathas and Dalits in Maharashtra,” he told the Lower House amid protests from the BJP members. He said some “fascist forces” always want to keep the Dalits at the bottom of the Indian society. Kharge, a veteran Dalit leader, demanded that PM Modi should come to the House and make a statement over violence against Dalits.
“Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi silent on the issue? He always keeps mum on such issues. He has become a ‘Mouni (silent) Baba’ on Dalit issues,” he alleged.
His comments evoked angry reaction among BJP MPs, with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar rejecting the charges and accusing the Congress of following the colonial British’s “divide and rule policy”.Kumar accused the Congress of seeking to fuel the caste conflict for its political gains.
Agitated Congress members trooped into the Well, shouting slogans against the Modi dispensation following which Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House briefly.
The Rajya Sabha proceedings were frequently disrupted during the day, with Opposition parties like the BSP and the Congress attacking the BJP dispensation over the Maharashtra violence and atrocities against Dalits.