New Delhi: Gujarat Congress leaders on Sunday submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee highlighting "atrocities" against Dalits in the state, and criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "having the time to think about people of Balochistan" but turning a "blind eye towards the suffering of Dalits" in his home state.
Demanding a time-bound action against the perpetrators, the Gujarat Congress leaders also sought the President's intervention in the matter.
The Congress leaders said they had apprised the President of the "rise in social terror in Gujarat, a phenomenon that has manifested over the past 18 years of BJP rule" in the state.
According to a memorandum they submitted to Mukherjee, more than 1,000 atrocities are committed against Dalits every year in Gujarat. Over the last 13 years of BJP rule, the total number of atrocities against Dalits stands at 14,613. "These are merely the number of reported cases. The actual number is much higher as many cases go un-reported," it added.
The delegation included Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Bharatsinh Solanki, Congress president's Political Secretary Ahmed Patel, Congress legislature party leader Shankar Sinh Vaghela, and AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry.
"The Prime Minister has time to acknowledge the suffering of people in Balochistan but it is unfortunate that he and his party have turned a blind eye to the suffering of the marginalized and underprivileged in his home state," Gujarat PCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki said.
"The atrocities in Una is not an exception but the norm. And the fact that even after the Una incident shook the nation's conscience, atrocities against Dalits still continue with impunity shows the extreme insensitivity embedded in the Gujarat administration," he added.
Solanki said: "He (Prime Minister) spoke eloquently over rogue cow vigilantes but did not tell us how as Chief Minister he encouraged the very business of such vigilantes. For a party whose ideology is based on dividing society, we have no hope that they will take any serious action to erase the deep fault lines in Gujarat."
Congress leaders also requested Mukherjee to intervene in the matter through the Governor of the state.
"We have come to seek the protection of the President and have urged him to use his good offices and issue relevant directions to the administration," said Solanki.
"We, the member of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee wish to bring to your kind attention the rising atrocities being committed against men, women and children belonging to the Dalit community in the state of Gujarat and the BJP led State government's refusal to take any action against those perpetrating these horrendous acts of barbarity," read the memorandum.
The memorandum read: "Given that the present state and central Government have decided to turn a blind eye to the plight of Dalits in Gujarat, we request the Rashtrapati ji to intervene and use his high office to ensure that safety as per law is provided to all Indian citizens."