A verbal spat between BSP leader Mayawati and union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu was witnessedon Monday in the Rajya Sabha as she blamed the Centre for what she dubbed were “rising incidents of atrocities against the Dalits”.
Mayawati raised the issue of beating up of four Dalit youth in public and parading them in Una town in Gujarat by cow protection vigilantes.
The Bahujan Samaj Party leader said: “Since the BJP-led government has come to power (at the Centre), the Dalits are being exploited at different levels. There are several incidents, and this reflects the narrow and casteist mindset of this party towards these groups.”
Naidu immediately objected and said: “You cannot take the party’s name. You can raise the issue… that is the practice.”
Mayawati however did not shy away from naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which irked Naidu.
The minister retorted while Mayawati was speaking, but his comments were not clearly audible.
Mayawati said some “anti-social elements” caught the Dalit youth when they were removing the hide off a dead animal, they were stripped half-naked and beaten up with rods and sticks.
“The administration did not take action against the culprits and the police was a mute spectator,” the BSP leader said.
The former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh asked the central government to instruct the Gujarat government to take action against the guilty.
Soon after, as Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Hamid Ansari wanted to take up the Question Hour, BSP members trooped near his podium and started raising slogans against the government.
In the din, the house was adjourned for 10 minutes. Later, the House took up the Question Hour.
According to reports, the youth beaten up in Una had been called by farmers to skin dead cattle. The incident came to light after a video of the atrocity went viral on the social media.