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Eyeing dividends on passing OBC & SC-ST Bills, BJP to launch nationwide prog

8/7/2018

New Delhi, Unfazed by criticism for keeping the BJP in poll mode regularly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday unveiled a nationwide outreach programme under which the party leaders will go to every part of the country to observe “social justice fortnight” from August 15-31. In the weekly BJP parliamentary party meeting, Prime Minister announced that the party will celebrate 'Samajik nyay pakhwada (Social Justice fortnight) from the Independence Day till the end of this month. "We will go to every part of India and make people aware of decisions we made for social justice and safety," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters briefing them about the deliberations at the BJP parliamentary party meet. Quoting the Prime Minister, he further said from next year BJP will celebrate Social Justice week from August 1 to 9. The announcement of yet another aggressive round of outreach programmes of the party is largely seen as an attempt to draw mileage after Parliament gave its nod to a bill seeking to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes - more popularly known as OBC Commission. The Lok Sabha has also given its approval to a new Bill amending Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act that would make any one accused facing charges of committing atrocities on these communities to be 'arrested' instantly without any probe. The Supreme Court its order on March 20, 2018 taking cognizance to a petition filed by an individual had said that the law, which protects Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from casteist slurs and discrimination, has often been misused and made an instrument to “blackmail” citizens and public servants. Instructing the government , the Court in its 89-page order had also issued guidelines to 'protect' public servants and employees from 'arbitrary arrests'. However, the statement of the objective of the amended Bill - that was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday - says that provisions of immediate arrest and registering of FIR are essential as 'preliminary inquiry and approval would only delay the filing of a charge sheet'. The BJP's move to restore original provisions of the 1989 Law is also seen by a segment as the efforts of the saffron party to gain ground among the Dalits and Tribals. While the BJP has made inroads into tribal states in the northeastern region including onetime Left ruled Tripura and Christian stronghold Nagaland, party leaders have also said that in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 2017 assembly polls in UP - the BJP had enlisted the support of backwards and Dalits. Hailing government's successful floor management amid turmoil over NRC issue in getting the passing of these two draft laws, the Prime Minister said that the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament will be remembered as a “session of social justice”.

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