Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal today asked the Congress government to take steps to protect the life and property of dalits in Punjab who were facing brutal attacks at the hands of Congress workers solely because they had exercised their franchise against the party.
In a statement here, the former deputy chief minister said the dalit community was feeling unsafe across the State and was in the grip of a fear psychosis. "The wave of violence unleashed against dalits threatens to offset the egalitarian society established in the region by our great Gurus. The dalits were incorporated into the mainstream of society by our Gurus who embraced untouchables with Guru Gobind Singh ji terming ‘rangreta’ as ‘guru ke beta’. It is condemnable that such a society, created after a massive reform movement, is being torn asunder by the Congress party solely for petty political gains”, he added.
The SAD president said Congress party workers and leaders were targeting dalits systematically wherever they had not voted for the party to "teach them a lesson as well as frighten them into supporting the Congress henceforth”. He said bizarre incidents which had never occurred before were happening on an everyday basis in Punjab. "Congressmen have become so drunk with power that they are thrashing and stripping dalits and posting pictures of the same on facebook as had happened recently in Bagga village in Majitha”. He said in an equally gruesome incident, a dalit youth was shot dead in Mansa district after he refused to hand over a contract allotted to him for cleaning solar panels to a Congress worker.
Badal said attempts were being made across the State to target dalit political leaders, be it at the panchayat, municipal committee and corporation or the zila parishad and samiti. "In all these democratically elected bodies dalit members are being forced to resign to facilitate the taking over of these bodies by Congress workers. Wherever dalit representatives are choosing to resist they are being attacked brutally as was the case with a dalit lady councilor in Majitha whose son and relatives were injured in one such attack”, he added.
Asking the Congress government to take action against its leaders who were indulging in atrocities against Dalits as well as police officers who were supporting them instead of following the rule of law, he said if this was not done the SAD would launch a state wide agitation to ensure justice to all victims of Dalit atrocities. Sukhbir said it was also unfortunate that Dalits were not only facing atrocities in Congress rule but were also not getting social welfare benefits due to them from the State. "These benefits should be resumed immediately and also enhanced as promised", he added.
Stating that the Congress government must take everyone along with it, particularly the dalit section of society, Badalt said it was galling that no concrete action had been taken in all cases of atrocities against dalits. He said this was because the district police had become puppets in the hands of Congress leaders who were indulging in atrocities and then preventing the police to act in the matter because of their own involvement in all such cases. "This has led to a paralysis in governance and prevalence of jungle raj in the State. If nothing is done to curb goonda elements who are being encouraged by Congress men the rift in society will become permanent and the State will have to pay a very heavy price for its anti-dalit stance”, Badal added.