The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Badal slams Cong Dalit duplicity

Chandigarh, June 22: Parkash Singh Badal has said widespread pre-election violence and the decision to stop Mayavati from addressing a rally next month have exposed the Punjab chief ministerís claims on law and order and his duplicity over Dalits.

The Shiromani Akali Dal chief said: ďAmarinder Singh has virtually lumpenised the Punjab polity and the shocking scale and magnitude of violence taking place in the (run-up to the) panchayat polls is a direct consequence of that.Ē

Panchayat elections are scheduled for June 29, with violence having been reported from certain areas. The chief minister has asked the Bahujan Samaj Party not to hold the Uttar Pradesh chief ministerís July 7 rally at Jalandharís Chara Mandi.

Talhan, on Jalandharís outskirts, recently witnessed Dalit-Jat riots stemming from a dispute over a shrine-cum-gurdwara.

The Amarinder government has urged the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes to stop investigating the Talhan violence as it could inflame passions once again. Commission members had visited Talhan last month and asked the government to send a report on the caste riots and how they spread to Jalandhar city.

The BSP claims that district police have said in writing that they had no objection to Mayavatiís rally. The district administration has also said it would not create any hurdles.

Badal slammed the Amarinderís rationale for scuttling Mayavatiís visit. ďAmarinderís stand on Mayavatiís visit is a classic instance of Congress hypocrisy on Dalits. Amarinder could allow non-Dalit Congress central leaders to visit curfew-ridden Talhan. But when it comes to a visit by one of the tallest Dalit leaders, the chief minister suddenly sees a law and order problem.Ē

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