Nagpur: Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Saturday advocated amendments in Atrocity Act but with a rider. He says that the Act can be amended but only after wide-ranging consultations with all political parties as well as social organizations.
Athawale arrived in the city on Saturday for a 4-day tour of Vidarbha and was talking to media. “The Atrocity Act cannot be changed at any cost but amendments can surely be made. I myself will initiate amendments and talk with leaders of all political parties. The Act was enacted in 1989 for protection of Dalits. My thinking is that after consultations with both the parties, a proposal on necessary amendments could be passed in Parliament and the Atrocity Act could be enacted in the new form. Even if the Act is for protection of some people, innocent people should not be punished under the law. This Act was enacted not for heaping injustice on any person but for coordination and cooperation among various castes. The best way the end caste bickering and tension is inter-caste marriages. And I am planning a strategy for the publicity and awareness on this aspect,” the Minister stated.
Hike quota limit for benefits to all:
Ramdas Athawale, who has come in support of Maratha reservation from the beginning, said that he had long back advocated reservation for economically weaker sections of Maratha community. “I still stand for the same. The economic condition of those Marathas who have been in agriculture has weakened. I oppose the demand to scrap Atrocity Act. There should not be any dispute over this issue as even the Maratha community has made it clear that they are demanding amendments in the Act and not its abolition. The Maratha Morcha is neither political one nor anti-Dalit stand has come to the fore through the morcha. I also oppose economy based reservation system by scrapping the present caste-based system. The basis for reservation can only be on the basis of caste. That is why I am opposing the stand of MNS Chief Raj Thackeray. At present, the Constitutional limit for reservation is 50 percent but if the Government wants to amend Constitution and hike the limit to 75 percent then it can be done. It will not be any problem if economy-based reservation is provided to the castes that are not getting any present reservation benefits,” Athawale declared.
Ramdas Athawale is organizing a Dalit-Maratha Maitri (Friendship) Sammelan in Shirdi on October 21. The aim of the conference is to announce support for demands of Maratha community and encourage communal harmony. Athawale said that efforts are being to bring leaders of all political parties under one roof.
Coming in support of separate Vidarbha State, Athawale hoped that Modi Government will surely fulfill the demand of Vidarbha’s people.