One more BJP MP joins chorus over Dalit issue


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The anger within Dalit MPs in the BJP appears to be on the surge with its Delhi MP Udit Raj now joining other lawmakers to express discontent over the way the issue is being handled.

While Raj chose not to write a letter unlike others, the northeast Delhi MP took to Twitter to bring attention to the problems faced by Dalits after the April 2 bandh, which witnessed large-scale violence, especially in BJP-ruled states.

"Reports are pouring in that those Dalits who participated in agitation on 2 April are being tortured and it must be stopped...Dalits are tortured at large-scale after 2 April countrywide agitation.

"People from Barmer, Jalore, Jaipur, Gwalior, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Karoli and other parts (are) calling that not only anti-reservationists but police (are) also beating and slapping false cases," he said in his tweets late on Saturday night.

All the places mentioned in his tweets belong to the BJP-ruled states.

Raj, an IRS officer who resigned to join politics in 2003, followed it up with another on Sunday afternoon, which appeared as a clarification but left with scope for interpretation, with some suggesting it exposed the anti-Dalit stand of the party.

"My tweets are misconstrued that it is harming the BJP rather it strengthens that at least there are people like me in the BJP who are concerned with Dalit atrocities after April 2 agitation. It will convince Dalits and they will remain with the party. The government will check anti-Dalit officers/people," he said.

The anger over the way Dalit issues are being handled manifested in an agitation organised by BJP MP Savitri Bai Phule in Lucknow on April 1 and letters written by three other Dalit MPs - Yashwant Singh, Chhote Lal Karwar and Ashok Kumar Dohrey - from Uttar Pradesh to Prime Minister Narendra Modi post the April 2 Bharat Bandh.

BJP MPs from the Dalit community were up in arms against the Supreme Court order diluting the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act and had put pressure on the government to file a review petition against it.

While Savitri organised a "Save Constitution" protest, Karwar wrote to Modi claiming that he was thrown out by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and that he was facing discrimination by the administration in his constituency.

Singh on his part claimed that the Modi government had done nothing for the Dalits in the past four years.

Dohrey said Uttar Pradesh Police was harassing Dalits and framing them in baseless cases for vengeance.

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