With polls nearing, politics over Dalits hots up in Bihar

Patna, Sep 5 (IANS) With the Bihar Assembly elections only a couple of months away, politics over Dalits has heated up, with Leader of Opposition and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav claiming lawlessness in the eastern state and asking Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to make laws to ensure no Dalit was killed.
On Friday, Nitish had announced that if any Dalit was killed in the state, a government job would be given to his/her next of kin.
Reacting to the development, Tejashwi said that the Chief Minister should get formulated a law wherein the murder of any Dalit would not take place in the state.
“What is the nature of law that the Bihar government is formulating? The Nitish Kumar government is promoting Dalit killings in Bihar. The lawlessness is such that those accused of killing Dalits are posting it on the social media,” the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader said.
In response, former Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has since joined the National Democratic Alliance, said that those raising questions on compassionate jobs to the Dalits should learn about the laws.
“The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was formulated in 1989 and implemented in 1995. It has undergone some amendments in the past but under Section 325 of the Act, if any Dalit is killed in the country, the kin are entitled to get pension and government job, licence for business, or land for farming,” Manjhi said.
As per the Election Commission data till January 2020, 15 per cent of Bihar’s total 7,21,40,945 voters were Dalit and Mahadalit, 17 per cent Muslim, 50 per cent OBC, 19 per cent upper castes and two per cent Adivasi.

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