BJP Will Neither Abolish Quota Nor Allow Anyone To Do So: Amit Shah

Amit Shah has repeatedly said that the BJP stands shoulder to shoulder with the Dalits

Bhawanipatna (Odisha):  BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday said the central government would neither scrap the policy of reservation for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities in education and jobs nor allow anyone to do so. His comments come amid the ongoing Dalit uproar over the dilution of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“No one can dare to change” the reservation policy “as set by B R Ambedkar in the Constitution”, the BJP chief said at a public meeting. Mr Shah had also tweeted about the same on Tuesday.

Mr Shah also held the Congress and other opposition parties responsible for the deaths of nearly a dozen people in the violence during a nationwide strike called on April 2 by various Dalit outfits.

The “Bharat bandh” called by the protesting Dalit groups led to 11 deaths, numerous clashes and incidents of arson across five states.

Top ministers and other BJP leaders have also blamed the opposition Congress of politicizing the issue. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also said that the government has not diluted the SC/ST law.

Amit Shah had previously pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met lawmakers belonging to the Scheduled Castes and had assured them that the government was doing everything to protect the rights and well-being of “our Dalit sisters and brothers.”

Alleging that a “misinformation campaign” had been launched in the media and on social media that the BJP would withdraw reservations, Mr Shah said, “I want to make it clear in this public meeting in the presence of so many people that the BJP will not withdraw reservations at all, nor will it allow anyone to do so.”

The Centre on Wednesday moved a plea in the Supreme Court seeking to review the March 20 verdict putting safeguards on arrest under the stringent SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The top court asserted that “no provisions of the SC/ST Act have been diluted” rather, some suggestions have been made to “protect innocents” and refused to keep in abeyance the verdict.

The court also said an arrest made without any preliminary investigation goes against the constitutional right of liberty.

The judgment, delivered on March 20, offered some relaxation in two tough provisions of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act — that a person accused under the law be immediately arrested and not be allowed bail. It led to accusations from Dalit groups that the law has been weakened.