BENGALURU, APR 05,
If the review petition against the Supreme Court’s March 20 judgment banning immediate arrest of a person accused of insulting or injuring a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe person is rejected, then the Centre should promulgate an Ordinance, Jignesh Mevani, Independent MLA from Gujarat and Dalit rights activist, has said.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a protest held in the city on Wednesday against the Supreme Court’s order, Mr. Mevani said the intentions of the BJP-led government at the Centre on the issue “did not seem right”.
“When the Advocate-General received a notice on the case, he did not respond in detail, nor did they highlight the atrocities and socio-economic conditions (of Dalits and adivasis). It is only when lakhs of people from the Dalit communities took to the streets in protest, and it hit the BJP that there will be electoral consequences that they filed a review petition,” he said. Mr. Mevani termed the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Atrocities Act, 1989 as “unconstitutional” and “encroached” on the jurisdiction of Parliament. “In case the review petition is rejected, we have to see whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led government at the Centre will bring in an Ordinance to protect this special legislation like they had contemplated to do with triple talaq,” he said.
At least 11 people died as protests across the country against the March 20 order turned violent. Mr. Mevani said while the violence cannot be justified, the discussion must steer towards the “feudal” forces that contributed to it. “The interpretation that Dalits have started a war against the government is wrong,” he said.
He raised a clarion call against the BJP, claiming that he would appeal to the Dalit community not to vote for the party. “Mr. Modi claims to have honoured B.R. Ambedkar. But, the reality is that he has done the most insult to Ambedkar and his ideas,”said Mr. Mevani.
While an injury would keep Mr. Mevani away from campaigning for the Assembly elections in Karnataka, he said he would raise the anti-BJP pitch in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan which are due for elections later this year.