NEW DELHI : The Congress party on Wednesday demanded that the Uttar Pradesh government set up a special court and chargesheet those accused in the Saharanpur violence and that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is duty bound to provide protection to Dalits affected in the caste clashes.
The Congress' Scheduled Castes department chairman K. Raju said the state administration should understand that they are duty bound to immediately provide relief, rehabilitation and compensation to the Dalit victims under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989.
Raju said: "Though hundreds of upper caste youths have committed such atrocious acts on Dalits, so far only 32 have been arrested."
"All the accused should be arrested and the UP government should set up a special court to deliver the judgment within 120 days. A special set-up of the public prosecutor has to be appointed and chargesheet against the accused has to be filed within 60 days of the incident. We demand an independent probe," said Raju briefing mediapersons.
"The UP government has to understand that there is a provision which provides protection, safeguard to Dalits and they are duty bound to implement that legislation. They are duty bound to respect the Constitution and provide the rehabilitation and protection, and punish the accused," he added.
The Congress party also demanded that the Chief Minister should immediately convene a meeting of the Vigilance and Monitoring Committee to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.
"Saharanpur is declared an atrocity-prone district which means that the administration ought to be on alert to make sure that atrocities (on Dalits) do not happen.
"What is worrisome in Saharanpur is that the administration is silent and has been a mute witness. They have not prevented or stepped in to ensure that the law is activated," said Raju.
The party also demanded that action should be initiated against the administration, the Police and the District Magistrate for their "failure to prevent occurrence and recurrence" of caste clashes.
"Whoever has failed to discharge their duties should be punished. We are demanding that cases must be booked against the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police for dereliction of duty," said Raju.
The party also demands that the Chief Minister should act in a manner to instill confidence among the Dalit victims and make sure that the witnesses are also protected.
"A certain section of the society in UP believe that after Yogi Adityanath became the Chief Minister, they have got licence to indulge in hooliganism, oppress the Dalits, commit atrocities," said Raju.
"They are confident that law will not be initiated against them because they think that the Chief Minister will provide them all necessary protection to allow them to commit any kind of atrocities on Dalits, which is a very sad story," he added.
Asked if Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi would visit Saharanpur, Raju said he would visit at an appropriate time. "We don't believe in instigating violence. We will look for appropriate time," he said.
A day after clashes between Dalits-Rajputs left one dead, the situation in a violence-hit village in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district remained tense but under control on Wednesday, an official said.
At least six persons were injured, one of them from gunshots, as caste tension flared again in Shabbirpur village and surrounding areas in Saharanpur district after BSP supremo Mayawati's visit on Tuesday.