Chandigarh: After his party colleague Navin
Jindal heaped praise on Khap panchayats, Union Minister Mukul
Wasnik today said while people have the right to vent their
views in a democracy, no one can be allowed to violate the law
of the land.
Commenting on the debate over the diktats of Khap
panchayats or caste councils, the Union Minister for Social
Justice and Empowerment said, "People are entitled to give
their views on any issue in a democratic system, but nobody
can be allowed to violate the law of the land."
Wasnik was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a
camp of Congress` Sewa Dal here.
Wasnik`s colleague Naveen Jindal, considered a forward
looking young generation Congress leader, recently attended a
Khap mahapanchayat in Kaithal, Haryana, and said he would
vigorously take up the issues raised by them with the Congress
high command and the party government in the state.
Asked about atrocities against Dalits on the rise in some
states including Haryana, where 18 houses of the community
were torched by miscreants on April 21 at Mirchpur village in
Hisar district, Wasnik said he was visiting states one by one
to assess how effectively Prevention of Atrocities (SC & ST) Act
was being implemented.
He said he had recently visited Madhya Pradesh and
Gujarat and would now be going to Orissa with the purpose.
Earlier, Wasnik, who is in-charge of All India Congress
Sewa Dal, told the gathering that the Dal was a key pillar of
the 125-year-old party and asked its activists to work
strongly to weed out evils like female foeticide and dowry
from the society.
He also said the Centre has sought a report from states
asking them to confirm steps taken by them to rehabilitate
manual scavengers under a central government scheme launched
three years back.
"We are seeking confirmation from the state governments
on this issue. As far as state channelising agencies are
concerned, they have reported to us that all manual scavengers
have been rehabilitated," he said.
The scheme is meant for the rehabilitation of those
scavengers, who clean human excreta with their hands, by
providing them with loans plus subsidy so that they could go
for alternative means of livelihood.
To a question, he said budgetary allocation for his
ministry, whose target groups included Scheduled Castes, OBCs,
persons with disability, senior citizens among others, had
witnessed a sharp jump from Rs 2500 crore in 2009-10 to Rs
4500 crore at present.
Listing the steps by his Ministry taken for the welfare
of weaker classes, he said that post-matric scholarship rates
for Scheduled Castes and OBCs that had not been revised for
the past many years had been hiked.