New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Thursday began general discussion on the "atrocities against Dalits" in the country under Rule 193.
Communist Party of India-Marxist member P.K. Biju from Kerala alleged that while there has been substantial increase in incidents of atrocities against Dalits, the community has not seen improvement in conditions, in education and social parameters.
As soon as the house re-assembled after the lunch break, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs S.S. Ahluwalia requested Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai, who was in the chair, to allow taking up the debate as against a listed item of government bills.
Initiating the discussion, Biju, the Lok Sabha member from Alathur constituency in Kerala, said over 37 per cent of Dalits live below the poverty line while at least one Dalit is attacked every 18 minutes.
"You have enough provisions to protect the Dalits in the country, but who will protect us," he asked and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to emerge as a true "custodian" of the people.
Referring to Modi's statement recently that first he (Prime Minister) be attacked and not the Dalits, the Marxist MP said such statements only reflects that the issue of attacks on Dalits is serious.
He said despite being a "prosperous state", Dalits' conditions have not been very good in the western state of Gujarat.
"I request the Prime Minister not to confine (himself) to only giving statements but also show action," Biju said.
Quoting National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reports, the member said many Dalit children die before the age of five and women literacy rate among Dalits was below 40 per cent.
There is need for "political will" to control incidents of violence an atrocities against Dalits, he said.