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Khaps can't be allowed to violate the law of the land: Wasnik

PTI  Chandigarh, May 12, 2010
First Published: 20:09 IST(12/5/2010) | Last Updated: 20:12 IST(12/5/2010)

After his party colleague Navin Jindal heaped praise on Khap panchayats, Union Minister Mukul Wasnik on Wednesday said while people have the right to vent their views in a democracy, no one can be allowed to violate the law of the land.

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Commenting on the debate over the diktats of Khap panchayats or caste councils, the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment said, "People are entitled to give their views on any issue in a democratic system, but nobody can be allowed to violate the law of the land."

Wasnik was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a camp of Congress' Sewa Dal here.

Wasnik's colleague Naveen Jindal, considered a forward looking young generation Congress leader, recently attended a Khap mahapanchayat in Kaithal, Haryana, and said he would vigorously take up the issues raised by them with the Congress high command and the party government in the state.

Asked about atrocities against Dalits on the rise in some states including Haryana, where 18 houses of the community were torched by miscreants on April 21 at Mirchpur village in Hisar district, Wasnik said he was visiting states one by one to assess how effectively Prevention of Atrocities (SC & ST) Act was being implemented.

He said he had recently visited Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and would now be going to Orissa with the purpose.

Earlier, Wasnik, who is in-charge of All India Congress Sewa Dal, told the gathering that the Dal was a key pillar of the 125-year-old party and asked its activists to work strongly to weed out evils like female foeticide and dowry from the society.

He also said the Centre has sought a report from states asking them to confirm steps taken by them to rehabilitate manual scavengers under a central government scheme launched three years back.

"We are seeking confirmation from the state governments on this issue. As far as state channelising agencies are concerned, they have reported to us that all manual scavengers have been rehabilitated," he said.

The scheme is meant for the rehabilitation of those scavengers, who clean human excreta with their hands, by providing them with loans plus subsidy so that they could go for alternative means of livelihood.

To a question, he said budgetary allocation for his ministry, whose target groups included Scheduled Castes, OBCs, persons with disability, senior citizens among others, had witnessed a sharp jump from Rs. 2500 crore in 2009-10 to Rs. 4500 crore at present.

Listing the steps by his Ministry taken for the welfare of weaker classes, he said that post-matric scholarship rates for Scheduled Castes and OBCs that had not been revised for the past many years had been hiked.


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