LJP strongly remains a part of the government as it makes it easier for his party to carry out its Dalit agenda: Chirag Paswan.

 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has assured the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) that there would be no dilution in the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and that there was no need to panic. LJP is a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and has six MPs in the Lok Sabha.

“They should rest assured that there will be no changes in the provisions of the Act—not even a comma, or full stop. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already clarified about this and I think there is no further need for any clarification. We are fully committed to restoring the Act,” BJP’s SC Morcha president Vinay Sonkar told The Sunday Guardian.

Asked whether an Ordinance would be issued, he said appropriate measures will be taken at the right time.

The LJP on Friday said its support to the BJP is issue-based as it sought a law to restore the stringent measures of an Act on atrocities against Dalits and removal of National Green Tribunal chairman A.K. Goel by 9 August. Party MP and Paswan’s son Chirag Paswan said that the government has not issued an Ordinance as yet to overturn the Supreme Court’s 20 March order which “diluted” the original SC-ST Act. He added that the patience of many within his party is running out as circumstances raising concerns of Dalits and tribals have emerged of late. He said protecting the interests of these communities was the basis of the LJP’s tie-up with the BJP in 2014.

The MP, however, said the LJP has faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his government has done a lot for Dalits. “LJP strongly remains a part of the government as it makes it easier for his party to carry out its Dalit agenda. The LJP will not walk out of the NDA like the TDP,” Paswan said.

It is to be noted that the Dalit and tribal groups have called for a “Bharat bandh” on 10 August to press for their demands, including restoration of the Act. They have said a Supreme Court order in March weakened the law.

Paswan said incidents of atrocities against the community have risen following the verdict and FIRs were not being registered by the police.

Goel was one of the two Supreme Court judges who delivered the verdict. He was appointed the NGT chairperson earlier this month after he retired.

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