National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman PL Punia (Centre) at a press conference. Punia has come under fire from the BJP after he mocked VK Singhs’s controversial remarks about two Dalit children who were murdered in Faridabad earlier this week.(HT Photo)
National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman PL Punia (Centre) at a press conference. Punia has come under fire from the BJP after he mocked VK Singhs’s controversial remarks about two Dalit children who were murdered in Faridabad earlier this week.(HT Photo)

NCSC chairman Punia speaking like Congress spokesman: BJP

The BJP on Friday accused National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairperson P L Punia of acting like a Congress spokesperson and also attacked its vice president Rahul Gandhi and BSP leader Mayawati for shedding “crocodile tears” over the recent murder of two Dalit children earlier this week.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 23, 2015 08:05 PM IST

The BJP on Friday accused National Commission for Scheduled Castes Chairperson PL Punia of acting like a Congress spokesperson and also attacked its vice president Rahul Gandhi and BSP leader Mayawati for shedding “crocodile tears” over the recent murder of two Dalit children earlier this week.

Under fire over the incident and subsequent dog analogy used by union minister Gen (retd) V K Singh, BJP fielded its Dalit leader Vijay Sonkar Shastri to deflect criticism and take on Punia over his deprecating comments about Singh.

“Punia must explain whether he wants to act like a Congress spokesperson or somebody in a constitutional post. Can he act as a party leader while holding the NCSC chief post? We have strong objections to his comments.

“There are talks that the Commission under him does not work and Dalits are not getting justice. Can Punia give one example where somebody from the Scheduled Castes has benefited from his work?” Shastri told a press conference soon after Punia criticised Singh for his comments.

Taking suo motu congnisance of Singh’s controversial comments over the Dalit burning issue, the Commission has issued a notice to DGP of Uttar Pradesh and SSP of Ghaziabad.

He said the killing had was not a case of crime targeting Dalits but due to enmity between two families and claimed that local BSP MLA besides the state administration had said so as well.

Shastri, a former chairman of the Commission, termed as “unfortunate” Singh’s ‘dog analogy’ while the Minister was responding to queries on the incident.

Asked about criticism by allies like Jitan Ram Manjhi and Ram Vilas Paswan, he noted that Singh had expressed regret and senior party leaders like Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also commented on it.

Mocking Rahul Gandhi over his visit to the Faridabad home of the victim family, Shastri said his “Dalit prem (love)” had surfaced again.

“People like him visit Dalits, do photo-ops and then forget them. They can do nothing but shed crocodile tears,” he said.

Taking suo motu congnisance of Union Minister Gen (retd) VK Singh’s controversial comments over the Dalit burning issue, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has issued a notice to DGP of Uttar Pradesh and SSP of Ghaziabad.

Terming as “unfortunate” the dog analogy used by Singh in stating that the Centre “cannot be held responsible if someone stones a dog”, NCSC chairman PL Punia said the notices have been issued “seeking details of action report from police” in light of such remarks.

Former army chief Gen VK Singh addressing the media, in Gurgaon. The union minister’s remarks had effectively compared the Dalit children to a dog. (Manoj Kumar/ HT Photo)
Former army chief Gen VK Singh addressing the media, in Gurgaon. The union minister’s remarks had effectively compared the Dalit children to a dog. (Manoj Kumar/ HT Photo)

“We have sought to know from the police whether action under IPC and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act can be taken in the case and what action has been taken so far?” Punia said.

When asked whether a notice has been issued to Singh as well, Punia clarified that notice cannot be issued by it to a minister, but to law enforcement agencies for failing in the performance of their duty.

NCSC said it has asked the DGP and SSP to appear in person before it on November 2.

Referring to the Faridabad incident in which two Dalit children were burnt alive on the intervening night of October 19-20, Singh said it was a case of personal feud and it needed to be seen if there had been an administrative lapse.

He had also said, “For everything... like if somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is held responsible... it is not like that.”

Mocking Singh’s comment, Punia said, “It is insulting not only for that particular Dalit family but the entire Dalit society.”

The NCSC Chairman said that Singh’s statement has been condemned by all political parties. Even Ramvilas Paswan, “who is part of the NDA government, has condemned it”, he claimed.

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