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Dalit groups plan Bharat bandh over lateral entry – Times of India
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Dalit groups plan Bharat bandh over lateral entry – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government’s recent initiative to allow lateral entry into bureaucracy has come up as the latest point of discontent for Dalit groups, which have threatened a repeat of the nationwide protest they held on April 2 against the Supreme Court dilution of certain provisions of the SC/ST Act.

Agitated over the ‘lateral entry’ issue, Dalits see this as a move to bypass constitutional mechanism like the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) which is mandated to recruit for top government jobs, Dalit activist Ashok Bharti said.

It ignores the mandatory reservation criterion for SCs and STs created to ensure uplift of the underprivileged communities, he added.

The Dalit groups are planning a nationwide agitation over the issue in August, closer to the Independence Day.

The plan is to organise a second ‘Bharat Bandh’ during the monsoon session of Parliament for better resonance at the national level, said the Dalit activist.

“The protest is meant to send out the message that if the concerns are not addressed by the government, the community will give the ruling party a befitting reply in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” Bharti told TOI.

“This government has already appropriated autonomous constitutional institutions like the Election Commission, which are is dancing to its tune, and will now bypass the UPSC,” said Bharti who was one those behind the April 2 ‘Bharat Bandh’. He said Dalits have been seething in anger over the SC order on SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act even as the court is yet to rule on the Centre’s plea for a review.

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