Govt committed to ensuring welfare of SCs, STs: Rajnath

NEW DELHI: The government today said it is committed to ensuring welfare of SCs, STs and other weaker sections and guaranteeing them full protection of law as it appealed to people not to fall prey to rumours and false propaganda.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also asked political parties to help in maintaining harmony among different sections of the society.
“The Govt of India is committed to ensuring welfare of SC/STs and other weaker sections and also guaranteeing them full protection of law. The Govt has already filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to maintain the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act in its presents form (sic),” he said in a series of tweets.
Singh said he was deeply pained by the acts of violence and loss of lives in some parts of the country today during protests in context of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
“I appeal to all political parties to help in maintaining harmony among different sections of the society. I also appeal to the people, not to fall prey to rumours and false propaganda unleashed by mischievous elements,” he said.
The home minister said the central government has advised all states to maintain law and order and it is ready to provide assistance to any state that may require so.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it was closely monitoring the situation and was in constant touch with the affected states after violent protests erupted during the nationwide bandh called by Dalit outfits against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which left at least four people dead in Madhya Pradesh and many injured.
The ministry has made available central forces – Rapid Action Force and CRPF – to the states that sought help.
Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have so far requested for central forces, a ministry spokesperson said.
Another home ministry official said the central government rushed 800 anti-riot policemen to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Curfew was imposed in Morena, Gwalior and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh after a student leader died in firing and several others were injured.
Violence was also reported from many districts of Uttar Pradesh including Azamgarh where protesters torched two state-run buses, injuring several passengers. Protests turned violent in Agra, Hapur, Meerut in western Uttar Pradesh.
The Supreme Court had on March 20 diluted certain provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in a bid to protect ‘honest’ public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act.
The verdict is being widely criticised by the Dalits and the Opposition who claim that the dilution of the Act will lead to more discrimination and crimes against the backward community. (Agencies)