Hyderabad: In an effort to assuage the hurt feelings of the Dalits in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called upon his countrymen to treat them with dignity and not hate them. He was highly critical of the Opposition parties, saying they were fishing in troubled waters and driving a wedge between Dalits and the BJP for political gains.
Mr Modi stated emphatically that discrimination against Dalits should stop and the onus for this lay on everyone. “If you want to take revenge, fire bullets at me. Why are you attacking my innocent Dalit brethren when all you want is to target the BJP,” he said in an indirect dig at the Opposition that has been blasting the BJP for the series of attacks on Dalits.
Addressing a polling booth workers’ meeting got up by the TS BJP at LB Stadium here, Mr Modi said the NDA government has been taking initiatives for the uplift of Dalits in the last two years. “A few political parties that claim to be champions of Dalits are worried about their political future as the Centre is according to high priority to problems of SCs. Hence these parties are stooping too low to create divisions in society,” he said.
“As part of the ‘Start-Up India and Stand Up India’, Dalit entrepreneurs are being given financial support by the Centre so that they could become job-givers and not job-seekers, he said.
He also called upon people to hold a week-long ‘Tiranga Yatra’ from August 15. Two-wheeler owners may carry the Tricolour and hold programmes, remembering the sacrifices made by the martyrs of freedom. However, he urged the people of TS to conduct the Yatra from August 15 for an extended period up to September 17. “Hyderabad won freedom 13 mo-nths after the country gained Independence, courtesy the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabh-bhai Patel. Hence people in Telangana, carrying that legacy, may continue the Yatra until Sept-ember 17,” he advised.
In a novel gesture, he urged the gathering to switch on their cell phone torchlight as a show of their solidarity to the weaver’s community, marking the National Handloom Day. Everyone present there responded by illuminating the stadium for a few moments.