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Why crime rate against Dalits increasing in MP: Congress jabs PM Modi

New Delhi: The Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday of protecting those responsible for the paper-leak and recruitment ‘scams’ in Madhya Pradesh and asked him why the crime rate against Dalits is ‘increasing’ in the state.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre ahead of Modi’s rally in Damoh in Madhya Pradesh.

“Today’s questions for PM Modi as he heads to MP: Who is the PM protecting in MP’s paper leak and recruitment scams? Why has the BJP let down Adivasis in Forest Rights Act implementation? MP has the highest crime rate against Dalits. Why is it increasing?” Ramesh asked in a post on X.

Elaborating on what he said were details of ‘jumlas’ (rhetoric), the Congress leader said the government might have changed the name of the Employees Selection Board in Madhya Pradesh but nobody has forgotten the notorious Vyapam ‘scam’ that rocked the state 10 years ago.

Since then, allegations of rigging have cropped up in the recruitment of nursing staff, school teachers, constables and agriculture development officers, but all that the BJP government has done is deny and subvert, he alleged.

“Just last year, allegations broke out of a scam in the patwari recruitment examination. Seven of ten toppers in the examination came from the same exam centre in Gwalior which is owned by a BJP MLA. A few years earlier, in 2021, three tests— for agriculture extension officers, senior agriculture officers and nursing staff, were cancelled when the evidence of foul play became too obvious to ignore,” Ramesh said.

He said a probe subsequently found out that the papers for the exams were leaked by a private company that was already implicated in the Vyapam ‘scam’.

“Who is the PM protecting in these scams? What is PM Modi doing to ensure that our youth never face such injustice again?” the former Union minister asked.

In 2006, the Congress passed the revolutionary Forest Rights Act (FRA) that granted the Adivasi and forest-dwelling communities legal rights to manage their forests, and economically benefit from the forest produce they collect, he pointed out.

“The BJP government, however, has obstructed the implementation of the FRA, depriving millions of Adivasis of its benefits. Only 47 per cent (2,94,877 claims) of the 6,27,513 individual claims filed have been granted, and land titles distributed cover only 10 per cent (5,931 sq. km) of the 57,948 sq. km eligible for community rights,” Ramesh alleged.

Why have the successive BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh failed to provide the Adivasi communities their rights, he asked.

Citing data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the Congress leader pointed out that Madhya Pradesh has the highest crime rate against Dalits in the country.

“In 2021 (the latest year for which data is available), the crime rate against SCs was 63.6 as compared to the national average of 25.3. The state also recorded high crime rates against Dalits in 2019 and 2020 — 46.7 and 60.8 against the national averages of 22.8 and 25 respectively. It is disgusting and shameful that the rate of crimes against Dalits has actually increased year-on-year,” he said.

“The BJP has been in power in MP for more than two decades now. Why is it that Dalits have to increasingly fear for their safety? Does PM Modi feel no shame for the countless atrocities that Dalits have endured under his watch?” Ramesh asked and said the prime minister should break his silence on the issue.

(Published 19 April 2024, 09:17 IST)



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