VIDEO: Mayawati slams Rahul for ‘sleeping’ during Dalit debate, Congress says he was thinking deeply

New Delhi: Hitting out at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for dozing off when the case of atrocities against Dalit youth in Gujarat was raised in the Parliament on Wednesday, BSP supremo Mayawati asserted that it showed his lackadaisical attitude towards the sensitive matter.

“When the discussion was going on in the Lok Sabha on the matter, Rahul was sleeping, so you can understand his attitude towards the issue and see how serious he is towards atrocities on Dalits,” Mayawati told the media in Delhi outside the Parliament.

The Congress party, however, maintained that Rahul was not sleeping but was contemplating something deeply.

Further hitting out at the Congress for trying to gain political mileage by chiming in at the last minute over the Dalit issue, she further said that the grand old party had joined the party according to their own convenience. “When I raised this issue two days ago in the Rajya Sabha the Congress paid no heed to it. My party charged right into the well but the congress stayed put. Yesterday also in the Lok Sabha the Congress party did not raise this issue. It’s only when they thought that the matter was quickly gaining traction, then they kicked into action,”

Mayawati said. Asserting that the Gujarat Dalit case was a serious and highly sensitive one, she demanded the formation of a special court bench and also called for a proper hearing in the matter and said that a decision should be ruled out in a month.

Earlier on Wednesday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi asserted in her party’s parliamentary party meet that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has snatched away the rights of adivasis, Dalits and traditional forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act 2006 and was systematically weakening and subverting environmental rights.

Meanwhile, branding that the attack on Dalits as a ‘social evil’, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned the Una incident and urged political parties to unite over the issue. The Lok Sabha, where the Home minister was speaking, witnessed an uproar when he tried to defend the Gujarat Government’s action in the case. “During the Congress rule in Gujarat, the number of cases of atrocities against the Dalits was high. There has been a sharp decline in it since the BJP came to power,” Singh said.

“We strongly condemn the Una incident in Gujarat. The Prime Minister also took cognizance of the issue… The atrocities against Dalits is a social evil. We must take it up as a challenge. I urge all parties to come together to fight this,” he added.

He said that nine people have been arrested so far in connection with the case, out of which seven were sent to judicial custody while two others were remanded in police custody. “Nine people have been arrested so far. Four police officials suspended for negligence of duty,” he said.

A policeman was killed in mob violence and a Dalit committed suicide on Tuesday as protests against last week’s thrashing of four youth in Una town snowballed across Saurashtra region of Gujarat.

The Dalit, who died during the day, was among the five persons from the community who tried to take their own lives in separate incidents in Gujarat.