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‘Don’t embarrass us by seeking votes, we are from general category’

Areas which have seen these posters include Malwa and Gwalior-Chambal regions apparently to convey a categorical message to and lodge a protest against political parties which supported the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) amendment bill

bhopal Updated: Aug 29, 2018 22:59 IST
Mustafa Husain
Mustafa Husain
Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Neemuch
election,madhya pradesh,neemuch
(HT Photo/ Akli village in Neemuch district )

“Don’t embarrass us by seeking votes, we are from general category. We will only vote for NOTA” read the posters which have come up in certain parts of the state barely three months ahead of the state assembly elections, as per reports reaching the state capital.

The areas which have seen these posters include Malwa and Gwalior-Chambal regions apparently to convey a categorical message to and lodge a protest against political parties which supported the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) amendment bill, as per some of people who have put up posters at their houses in the regions.

The bill was passed in parliament in the first week of August to overturn a Supreme Court order that struck down the provision for immediate arrest of those booked under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

The bill was passed to restore provisions of the act which rule out an anticipatory bail to a person accused of atrocities against SC/ST members and also any inquiry or approval of authorities before the arrest.

Scores of houses at Akli village in Jawad assembly constituency of Neemuch district have such posters with the message printed over it. Akli village is situated hardly 20 kilometers away from the district headquarters Neemuch, 428 kilometers north west of Bhopal, on MP-Rajasthan border. The village has about 750 voters, mostly from upper castes and other backward classes (OBCs).

Neemuch, the neighbouring district of Mandsaur, had also seen agitation of farmers last year during which six farmers were killed in Mandsaur.

Krishna Pal Singh Panwar, a resident of Akli village, said, “The political parties’ conduct on SC/ST bill shows they are against the general category in the society. We are opposed to the tyrannical law which gives immense power to police to arrest any person without any inquiry. Our votes will not go to any political party but NOTA (None of the above) button on the electronic voting machine (EVM).”

Another resident Parvat Singh said the BJP government had betrayed them. “We are opposed to the law and also reservation on a caste basis. Reservation should be based on economic status, not castes.”

Mahesh Mudgal from Gwalior-Chambal region, who has also put up a similar poster on his house said, “BJP has betrayed us but there is no other political party either which stands by us. Despite a historical order from the Supreme Court to check misuse of the SC/ST Act the political parties have reversed the situation.”

“When there is nothing for us and everything is for dalits and also anybody can misuse the SC/ST Act against us why should we vote for these parties”, asked Ramkumar Singh Sikarwar, a leader of Akhil Bhartiya Kashtriya Mahasabha in Gwalior.

State Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said, “This is all the BJP’s design to divert the votes to NOTA which are meant for the Congress but the ruling party will not succeed in its design.”

State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “We are not aware of any such poster in any region of the state.’

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 22:59 IST