In what may give the Opposition fresh ammunition to target the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran Lal Krishna Advani on 22 August condemned the recent incidents of atrocities against Dalits in the country and called for a thorough probe in those cases.
"Whatever has happened in Gujarat (Dalit atrocities) is condemnable and everybody is sad about it. It should be made sure that atrocities on Dalits do not take place anywhere in the country," Advani told reporters.
He, however, pointed out that the atrocities have been carried out on Dalits since ages.
"It is nothing new. Whosoever came in contact of Mahatma Gandhi, who followed his ideology, have naturally condemned such incidents like the recent one where atrocities were carried out on Dalits," he added.
Advani's remarks comes a day after the Congress attacked Prime Minister Modi on the 'sufferings' of Dalits in Gujarat and questioned as to why he was turning a blind eye to the issue and instead speaking on Balochistan.
A delegation of Gujarat Congress met President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday and submitted a memorandum on the recent atrocities on Dalits.
In an unusual expression of solidarity with the Dalit community that faced the wrath of so-called 'cow protectors' in Gujarat recently, Prime Minister Modi earlier on 7 August went hammer and thongs at them, saying if they want to shoot, they should shoot him, but not his Dalit brothers.
"The people, who think they control Dalits could not digest the fact that Dalits are getting to know about the BJP's good work and that is why they are in tizzy. They are indulging in raising issues using Dalits. I want to tell those people that if they have any problem, they should attack me, but stop attacking my Dalit brothers."
"If you want to shoot, shoot me, but don't shoot my Dalit brothers," said the Prime Minister while addressing the BJP's 'Karyakarta Maha Sammelanam' in Hyderabad.
The Prime Minister further said politics of breaking the society is not good for the country, adding discrimination among human beings is not at all acceptable.
"Shanti, Ekta, Sadbhavana are central to the progress of the nation. We have to protect the marginalised and the Dalits. It is our duty," he said.