Bharat Bandh: Dalit groups call off August 9 protests
NEW DELHI: In what comes as a relief to the Centre, dalit groups have withdrawn their call for a “Bharat Bandh” on Thursday after the Lok Sabha passed the SC/ST amendment bill, which upturned the SC ruling that had diluted certain provisions of the original legislation.
“Our major demand regarding the restoration of the SC\ST Act has been fulfilled” a written statement issued by the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha (AIAM) said on Wednesday.
Before the bandh was called off, Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Wednesday appealed to the public to not participate in the August 9 ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by dalit organisations. Athawale urged people to maintain peace, harmony and brotherhood in the country.
His appeal came a day after a Bill to overturn a Supreme Court order concerning certain safeguards against arrest under SC/ST law was unanimously passed by the Lok Sabha.
On behalf of AIAM, Bharti thanked various political parties and leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, H D Devegowda, Sharad Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja and V M Singh for lending their support to the dalit cause. The dalit activist said that AIAM has successfully achieved its first milestone by protecting the law.
The dalit groups have postponed the “bandh” and given the government more time to meet their other demands, including the release of jailed dalit leaders.
We will decide on a new deadline for the government to meet the rest of our demands, Bharti said on Wednesday.