The SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has recently roused a certain degree of resentment from the upper caste sections. While the upper castes allege that there can be an apparent ‘misuse’ of the act, the BJP has taken this as a poll strategy to pacify the group at protest that they will not face any ‘undue’ harassment from the authorities.
This message was further carried out by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who on 21st September announced that the upper caste will not be harassed in any way and that no individual will be arrested before a proper investigation is carried out regarding any reported case. In Uttar Pradesh on the other hand, the BJP is carrying out its message through groundwork on the similar lines to the Brahmins and the OBC sections of the population as they constitute the core vote bank for the upcoming polls in 2019.
Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Kalraj Mishra said the Act was made to protect SC’s/ST’s from harassment and atrocities. “But there should be concern that others should not be exploited in the execution of the Act. Certainly, there will be a discussion. BJP is a sensitive political party that has a motto of’ sabka saath-sabka vikas’. We cannot move forward by leaving anyone (behind).”
The main cause behind this protest is that The Union government had brought in a new ordinance which was in turn later ratified by Parliament when the Supreme Court tweaked the original 1989 Act. The original act had asked for a ‘more elaborate process’ before arrests to be taking place against any individual. This had led to agitations in many States, especially Madhya Pradesh where the Samanya Alapasankhyak Adhikari Karamchari Sangh (SAPAKS), led a successful bandh on September 6 and plans a big rally on September 30 in protest to the recent changes in the Act.
Addressing, the issue of protest, a BJP MP from Bihar, Satish Chandra Dubey, said there was no resentment against the Act in his constituency stating,“…only opposition and the social media are misleading people and making it an issue. There is no resentment or aggression at the ground level…”