Alleging that the BJP government in Chhattisgarh was implementing a "diluted" version of the SC/ST Act, the Congress on Monday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "backstabbed" the nation on his promise to not allow dilution of a law that prevents atrocities on scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
"Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has backstabbed the nation on his promise of not diluting the SC/ST Act, 1989," Congress spokesperson P L Punia told reporters.
Modi, while addressing the inauguration of BR Ambedkar memorial in New Delhi on April 13, said he would not allow the Act to be diluted after the Supreme Court laid down new guidelines to prevent the law's misuse.
Hence, if the BJP-led Union government is serious about the Dalits’ welfare, it should immediately bring an ordinance to prevent the alleged dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Congress said.
On March 20, the Supreme Court amended the provisions of the Act and issued new guidelines that government servants should not be arrested without prior sanction and private citizens, too, can be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.
Following it, the Centre said the apex court judgment on the Act "diluted" the provisions of the law, resulting in "great damage" to the country, and steps may be taken to correct it.
The BJP government in Chhattisgarh, however, allowed the implementation of the new SC guidelines on the SC/ST Act, Punia said, asking: “Why the central government did not do what was required. Why the ordinance has not been issued".
"The BJP now totally stands exposed on the SC/ST Act as it is now implementing the diluted Act in Chhattisgarh, despite PM Modi promising that his government will not allow any dilution. This is a clear case of the BJP's unabashed double-speak, duplicity and deceit," he said.
Punia said the Additional DG, CID, Chhattisgarh, in a circular has directed the state police to implement the "diluted" version of the SC/ST Act.
The Dalit Congress leader also said that the prime minister was "totally silent" on bringing the ordinance.
"We had demanded legislative intervention in this matter. But the prime minister is totally silent. The BJP has betrayed the Dalit community by not bringing the ordinance, which should be brought immediately," he added.
(With inputs from agencies)