"If you want to attack, attack me, not Dalits. If you want to shoot, aim at me and shoot, not on Dalits,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi thundered while addressing a meeting of BJP workers at LB Stadium in Hyderabad on his maiden visit to Telangana on Sunday.
Modi said that a slanderous campaign was being carried out against his government by those who had all along exploited Dalit community as a vote bank.
While taking a tough stand against cow vigilantism yet again, for a second time in a day, Modi was emotional on the anti-Dalit violence and said the “world will not forgive us” if atrocities against Dalits continued.
“This is a social evil. On one hand, we talk about Vasudaika Kutumbham and on the other, continue certain inhuman practices. Dalits suffered indignities and humiliation for hundreds of years. Should they continue to suffer even 70 years after independence?” the prime minister asked in an emotion-choked voice.
"Some people, who thought for years that they were the custodians of Dalits’ interests and used them as vote banks, are now worried. They feel threatened because my government has taken several initiatives for the uplift and empowerment of Dalit communities," he said.
Without naming any party, Modi said the attempts to politicise Dalit issues must end. Yeh Khel Bandh Hona Chahiya, the prime Minister said with a finality in his voice.
"Of late, there has been a concerted misinformation campaign against BJP by those who think they are the sole custodians of Dalit votes," he said scantly referring to the anti-Dalit violence both in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
Modi also reiterated that his government would not tolerate any violence against Dalits and warned parties against politicising the issue.