BJP MP Udit Raj: “I have ideological differences with my party”

BJP MP Udit Raj: “I have ideological differences with my party” VISHWA DEEPAK Updated: Mar 23rd 2018, 09.50 AM An upset Udit Raj tells National Herald that BJP-led government must file a review in Supreme Court after its ruling diluting stringent provisions of SC/ST Act, or pass the bill in Parliament again Udit Raj, Bharatiya Janata Party MP for North-West Delhi and Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, is upset after the recent Supreme Court ruling diluting stringent provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. In an interview with National Herald’s Vishwadeepak, Raj says the government immediately needs to file a review petition, or pass the bill in the Parliament again, as "Weakening of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is not acceptable in any circumstances”. Raj also said RSS-affiliated ABVP can’t be absolved from its role in the death of Rohit Vemula. What is your reaction on the recent Supreme Court ruling on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act? I am concerned about bias. The court has said that only 10-12% case registered under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act are genuine, rest are motivated or fabricated. But I would ask then what does the court thinks about cases registered under Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and anti-rape laws? Many believe that 70% registered under these acts are also motivated. Will the court dissolve these acts also? Important thing is how you explain the laws. It takes a long time to register an FIR under this act. To depose the witness in the court under SC/ST Act, takes even longer time. Instead of rectifying its loopholes, the law itself is being dissolved. Supreme Court does not have the right to do so. Did you raise the issue within the BJP? Yes, I have been trying to call on Prime Minister Modi but he has not given time yet. What do you want to say to the PM? The government of my party immediately needs to go to the court and file a review petition. If this does not happen, government needs to pass the bill in the Parliament again. Weakening of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is not acceptable in any circumstances. I want to tell them why Supreme Court has not taken this kind of (regressive) view in regard to anti-rape and anti-dowry laws. Such casteist views have been expressed only in the case of the SC/ST Act . Rights given to Dalits, Adivasis, backwards are being diluted. Prevention of atrocities on the weaker sections is guaranteed by the constitution but sadly that is also being diluted. After the Supreme Court ruling, SC/ST Act has become poorer than the general laws. Have you seen any sign of resentment within the party over the issue? Yes, there is resentment within the BJP over the issue. I cannot comment about others but the party will have to clarify its stand over the issue. Not only us, but other parties in the NDA think that the dilution of the act is not right. What did the minister of social justice and empowerment, Thawarchand Gehlot say when BJP leaders met him regarding this? Let Thawarchand do his work. I am trying to meet the PM. This issue requires higher authorities in the party. NCRB data shows cases of Dalit atrocities recorded a jump in the time of BJP rule. What would you say? Atrocities and discrimination against Dalits are more related to the society than the government. We need social reform which has not happened in the society. You claim that you are an ardent follower of Baba Saheb Ambedkar but there are others who think BJP is a Manuvadi party. There are reports of increased attacks on Dalits in NDA rule. Do you feel comfortable with your party? I am politically affiliated with the BJP, not ideologically. Social, ideological and religious affiliations are not necessary to work with a party. I am a Buddhist, and I believe in Buddhism, but they do not. This is the first difference between us. Their religious beliefs are different than mine. I want to abolish the caste system but they do not. As far as ideological differences are concerned, let me tell you I do have ideological differences with my party. I had joined the BJP on the condition that Dalits would be given greater participation in media, education and in government jobs. Many BJP leaders have been accused of promoting casteism. In Rohit Vemula suicide case, the role of then HRD minister Smriti Irani was criticised. The role of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad also came under a scanner. Do you think justice was not done? Yes, I completely agree with you. It is wrong to say that Vemula was a communist, that is why he was opposing ABVP. Root cause of his suicide is caste discrimination. ABVP cannot be given clean chit or be absolved from its role. I have already said that it should be investigated thoroughly. What are your thoughts about BJPs paternal organisation RSS? It is said that the RSS controls BJP? I do not want to comment about the RSS. They have their own ideology. Ask them about their ideology. I am not their spokesperson. BJP received major blow in the bypolls recently held in your home state, Uttar Pradesh. Analysts believe that if Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party come together, BJP would certainly lose. How will you fight the SP-BSP combine in the election? Uttar Pradesh is going to be a difficult state for us. There is no doubt if SP-BSP comes together, they become strengthened electorally. We will have to chalk out fresh strategies. We will win Dalits and backwards again. We need to bring them back again in our fold. Party will debate and discuss about it, and if they call me, I will also give my inputs. As of now they have not invited me for any such debate or discussion.


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