Patna: Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan on Tuesday flayed Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi for "playing the victim" in an alleged purification of a temple within hours of his visit to pay obeisance, saying he should have acted against whosoever responsible for it.
"Manjhi should know that untouchability has been abolished in our country and commission of such crime is a cognisable offence," the Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
"A chief minister is supposed to know about criminality involved in the practice of untouchability," he said, adding, in the alleged incident involving Manjhi himself, as he claims, he should have cracked the whip against those responsible for washing the temple to purify it.
The chief minister had on the contrary chosen to "play victim" to seek sympathy of the people over a serious matter of being victimised or discriminated on caste lines.
"The incident is most shameful if there is truth in what Manjhi had said," the Union minister said.
He rued that the chief minister had failed to realise the powers he has to deal with such matters.
"Why can't he act against those who had washed and purified the temple after his visit as commission of such crime is manifestation of untouchability and discrimination against the Dalits?" he asked.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Sudarshan Bhagat during the day decried the alleged incident and said that the ministry was gathering details about it.
Manjhi had yesterday ordered a probe into the incident that occurred a couple of months ago in Madhubani district and had warned strict action if anybody was found guilty.