After Lok Janshakti Party, it is the turn of another NDA ally, Union minister Ramdas Athawale-led Republican Party of India (Athawale), to demand removal of Justice A.K. Goyal as the head of National Green Tribunal for giving a judgment against certain provisions of the SC/ST Act.
As another dalit protest is planned for August 9 over the issue of dilution of SC/ST Act, the dalit leaders are throwing their weight behind it. The anger among dalit groups, evident during the violent protests in April, has even made the NDA allies jittery.
Athawale said, “Justice Goyal had given wrong judgment on SC/ST Atrocities Act. I don't think it is appropriate to appoint him as NGT chairman. I am a part of NDA, but I demand that he should be removed from that post. He has hurt feelings of dalits.”
The minister has been giving voice to the growing dalit anger over atrocities. He had, in the past, even gone on record to say the BJP may lose upto 20 seats in Uttar Pradesh due to emerging political situation. Earlier, Ram Vilas Paswan, also a cabinet minister, had written to the PM, saying Goyal should be removed from the NGT post.
The government and the BJP have affirmed that the SC/ST Act will not diluted, but this assurance has done nothing to quell the fears of dalits.
As the protest is scheduled for August 9, when the Parliament will be in session, the issue is likely to be raised by the opposition parties.