April 14, 2016 1:59:49 am
Taking on the BJP at the Centre as well as in Rajasthan, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday said the ruling party continued to exclude Dalits from the development discourse.
Inaugurating the party’s three-day Dalit Sammelan to mark the 125th birth anniversay of B R Ambedkar, Rahul demanded a CBI probe into the alleged rape and mysterious death of a minor Dalit girl in Barmer last month. He likened the Raje government’s handling of the incident to the Centre’s treatment of Dalit PhD student Rohith Vemula’s suicide, and accused both the governments of insensitivity.
“Here, they (BJP government in Rajasthan) called a murder a suicide. In Vemula’s case, they (BJP government at Centre) said it was a suicide but he was not a Dalit,” Rahul said. He added that in the case of Vemula, “it was not suicide but murder”. “Vemula was murdered by the Government of India… they built so much pressure on him that an intelligent student broke and had to commit suicide,” he alleged.
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On the other hand, Rahul said, “When a delegation went to meet Vasundhara Raje ji, she asked them ‘have you come for the girl or from the other side’. When they said ‘for the girl’, she said ‘why are you wasting my time’.”
Rahul recounted Ambedkar’s struggles as a Dalit student — sitting isolated in a classroom and not having access to the school water tap — to accuse the BJP of wanting to maintain conditions which the founding father of the Constitution had to face.
“Modiji talks of development, education, Congress also talks of (these things). So what is the difference? The BJP and RSS people want schools to be built but… a Dalit student should sit alone in class… they want a bigger water tank for school but still don’t want Dalits to have access to the water tap,” he said.
Before arriving in Jaipur, Rahul visited the residence of the dead Dalit girl at Trimohi village in Barmer. He was accompanied by state Congress chief Sachin Pilot. While the police have been calling it a case of suicide, the girl’s family has alleged that she was murdered. “She was a daughter of India. The family feels that justice has not been done… they are only demanding justice… and justice will only be done if a CBI probe is ordered,” Rahul said.
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