Gujarat legislator and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani on Monday asked Union Minister Ramdas Athawale to refrain from advising him and instead advise Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring an ordinance vis-a-vis the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to ensure protection of Dalits' rights.
Athawale, had earlier advised Mevani to shun support to the Maoists groups which, he said, were anti-Dalit. Athawale is founder-leader of the Republican Party of India (Athawale) and is Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in the Modi government.
Dubbing Athawale, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and BJP MP Udit Raj as 'hanumans' of Modi, the Gujarat lawmaker said they should advise the Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership to defend the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
"Our stand is absolutely clear—we don't believe in RSS ideology or any violence. We totally believe in the Constitution. Instead of advising me, Athawale ji should advise (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi to assure the Dalits across the country that their rights will be protected and that the Centre will bring in an ordinance on the issue before April 14, the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, should the apex court reject the review petition on the issue," Mevani said.
"Athawale should also demand for the impeachment of two Supreme Court Justices who ruled in the case of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. He should also advise persons who say there is nothing like secularism and that if the country needs to be saved, there should be no Muslims in India. He should also advise Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh people who want to change the Constitution."
The Dalit leader said he believed in the Indian Constitution, while Athawale had gone ahead and forged an alliance with the BJP and RSS, who "have been talking of changing the basic structure of the Constitution".