New Delhi: Condemning violence against Dalits, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked politicians, including his own partymen, to shun irresponsible statements as the community’s “self-appointed champions" were giving political colour to the social problem to create tensions.

He said he was committed to the welfare of Dalits and other oppressed sections of the society but some people cannot digest that “Modi is pro-dalit". He condemned the incidents of violence against Dalits, saying it does not suit any civilized society. “I want to tell politicians, including the leaders of my own party, that there should be no irresponsible statements against any person or community. The country’s unity, social unity and equality should not be affected. We should be extra cautious," Modi told CNN-News 18 in an interview.

Noting that there are many Dalits who are Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs and MLAs in the country, he said, “Ever since I celebrated 125th birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar...many people felt that Modi is Ambedkar’s follower. They started having problems. Those who consider themselves as “thekedar" (self- appointed champions) of some special section and want to create tension in the society, they could not digest this that Modi is pro-Dalit..."

Insisting that “I am committed to the welfare of Dalits, victims, oppressed, deprived, tribals and women", the Prime Minister said, “Those facing trouble because of this are creating problems and levelling baseless charges against me."

Without naming anybody, Modi said, “Those who have poisoned this country in the name of casteism, they should stop giving political colour to a social problem." The Prime Minister said there should never be any violence against Dalits and added that the country has full faith that “our agenda is development only".

“There is no confusion among people of the country. But those who never wanted that such a government is formed, those who never wanted that previous government should go, their problems are going on. The issue of development is our agenda and it will remain our agenda. It is not a political agenda. It is my conviction. “If country wants to get rid of poverty, then there needs to be development. We need to empower poor people of the country," Modi said.

My Reads Logout