Congress accuses Modi of anti-Dalit agenda

Monday, June 7, 2010

GANDHINAGAR - The Congress party’s Gujarat unit Monday accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of pursuing an anti-Dalit agenda and held him responsible for the demolition of over 200 of their houses by the Ahmedabad civic agency, rendering over 1,000 people homeless.

The party threatened an agitation if the repression is not stopped forthwith.

State Congress chief Siddhartha Patel and Leader of Opposition in the assembly Shaktisinh Gohil said in Ahmedabad that the demolition of the Dalit houses in Modi’s own Maninagar assembly constituency was indicative of his anti-Dalit attitude.

They said that the Barot Vas was regularised by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in 1983 and 204 Dalit families in the area, comprising more than 1,000 people, were regular tax payers of the city civic body.

However, a letter from the chief minister’s office June 18 last year, to the urban development secretary with a copy to the Ahmedabad municipal commissioner said that the chief minister had received complaints about “anti-social activities” of the residents of the area “causing harassment” to other residents in the vicinity.

Gohil alleged that the only complainant against the Barot Vas was a local builder close to Modi and the chief minister issued a order to the city civic body “without making any inquiry”. And the municipal corporation carried out the demolition last week without bothering to clarify the situation or inquiring about the justification of the complaint.

Threatening a state-wide agitation if the state government refused to mend its ways, the Congress leaders claimed that during the last one year, 20 Dalits had been murdered, 28 Dalit women raped and at least in 27 villages Dalits faced a mass social boycott leading to forced migration.

During the same period, 1,182 complaints of atrocities against the Dalits were registered while over 6,000 cases were pending. But despite repeated reminders by the courts, the state government was showing no interest to pursue the cases, they added.

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