Nagpur: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday assured the Dalit community that notwithstanding the demand from a section of the society, the legislation on Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Tribes will not be abolished.
Addressing a huge gathering at Deekshabhoomi here on the occasion of 60th Dhammachakra Pravartan Din celebration, which marks the mass conversion to Buddhism by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and his followers in 1956, he said there was a strong demand from a section of the Maratha community to repeal the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as it is allegedly being misused, but the act will stay. “A true follower of Dr Ambedkar will not indulge in such misuse and hence there was no need for the Maratha community or any other community to fear its misuse,” he asserted.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind and Dalit leader and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale were also present.
One of the major demands of the politically dominant Maratha community, which is taking out huge silent marches in Maharashtra, is abolition of the Atrocities Act.
The Chief Minister also said the plan of the memorial of Dr Ambedkar at Indu Mill land in Mumbai would be soon finalized. The government had had detailed discussions with top Dalit leaders including Prakash Ambedkar, Jogendra Kawade, Sulekha Kumbhare, Anand Ambedkar and others to avoid any controversy and the design of the memorial was nearing completion, he said.
Fadnavis also lauded the contribution of former Governor of Bihar and Kerala R S Gavai, who headed the memorial committee till his death, and said a memorial for Gavai would be constructed in his hometown Amravati with a budget of Rs 25 crore.
Gadkari in his speech assured all necessary help from the Centre to turn the Deekshabhoomi into a world-class monument. A proposal from the state government to create a Buddhist circuit connecting important Buddhist sites had been pending, and now the Centre had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for it, he said.