Congress may be protesting outside Parliament against atrocities on Dalits, but its leaders in the Parliament don’t seem to have the time for a discussion and debate on the issue. According to an Indian Express report, the principal Opposition benches in the Lok Sabha were mostly empty when the discussion on the issue began on Thursday. While Congress was quick to point that MoS Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal, who was supposed to intervene in the discussion, was not present, it own MPs were missing from the lower house. On behalf of Meghwal, BJP MPs are reported to have clarified that the MP had stepped out to drink water. Not sparing the Opposition, Rajiv Pratap Rudy is believed to have observed that the front bench, where senior leaders of the Opposition party normally sit, was empty during “such an important discussion.”
Congress has blamed the Narendra Modi government for the “atmosphere of intolerance” in the country. The party has said that the “fringe” has become the centre. “In India the ‘fringe’ has become the centre and the centre has become the ‘fringe'”, party spokesman Jyotiraditya Scindia has said, targeting the Prime Minister for showing “helplessness” to take action. Meanwhile, under attack over atrocities against Dalits, the government has asked states to take strict action against anti-social elements indulging in activities like cow protection.
Last month some Dalits were thrashed by a group of people for allegedly killing a cow. The incident sparked huge protests in Gujarat. On his part PM Narendra Modi has also spoken against the so called ‘gau rakshaks’ (cow vigilante groups). Modi has said that ‘fake cow protectors’ are ‘dividing the nation’ and that they must be punished. He also urged the state governments to take action against these elements. PM Modi has also said, “If you want to attack, attack me and not Dalits. If you want to shoot, shoot me and not Dalits.”